The Kids Are All Right is a well-made movie, and I liked it – but it made me angry at the same time. Two teens, one about to go off to college, and the other a few years behind, have decided that they want to get in touch with their bio-dad. They are you see, the children of a lesbian couple: Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Juliane Moore).
They meet ‘dad’ (without the approval of their “mom and mom”) and the eldest Joni (Mia Wasikowska) hits it off with Mark Ruffalo’s Paul immediately. Laser (Josh Hutchinson) is a little slow to come around, but warms up to him as well. Nic never does come around, and seems to me vengeful, spiteful, and petty. I disliked her character immensely. Remember, Paul had never asked to be contacted, and in fact had put the sperm donor events of his youth behind him. So for Nic viciously call him an “interloper” at one point is a low blow. Not to mention her caustic “I want your advice like I want a dick up my ass!”. And you know she doesn’t want a dick up her ass.
To be positioned as a family values film (liberals attempt to co-opt the term), I think is embarrassing and completely wrong-headed. Nic is a control freak of the highest order: so if this is the “value” to be portrayed as the head of the family, then so be it. Not my idea of ‘value’. Directed by lesbian director Lisa Cholodenko, this film is really timid and insufferable on the morals. The critics have fallen all over themselves to praise this one
With all that said, why did I rate it so highly? I’m an actor guy, and the acting of 4 of the 5 leads is excellent (Josh Hutchisnon’s Laser is not quite up to snuff). If it wasn’t so self-congratulatory and smug, I would have rated it higher.