Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #103 The Kids Are All Right

In Uncategorized on December 26, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Movie #103 The Kids Are All Right

(2010, US, d. Lisa Cholodenko)

What’s best about this extremely politically correct film is that once you get into it, it doesn’t seem politically correct at all. Lisa Cholodenko does a great job of hiding the fact that not only are there no stereotypes in this film about relationships, but everyone and every decision that is made is almost a radical idea in modern mainstream culture. The parents are lesbians, the sperm donor is a playa who wants to get close to his kids, no straight relationship in the film is not bi-racial, etc… Everything has this sort of counter-culture, radical, 60’s vibe recycled for the 21st century to it. But throughout all this, Cholodenko manages to tell a fairly compelling story about a couple who are so caught up in their kids’ lives and their kids’ problems that they fail to examine their own shortcomings, hence the title. It’s an irony you don’t grasp until later on but I think it was done very well. The awards season in general have consistently been rewarding both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore with nominations for their performances but I think it’s Mark Ruffalo that steals the show here. It’s his quiet, humorous, but altogether genuine performance that anchors the film and puts the most heartfelt strings on it. In fact, I think it was Ruffalo that was hiding the extreme leftism of the film as a genuine and beautiful story. Granted I have absolutely nothing against lesbians and bi-racial couples, but there’s a point in any film when you start to wonder whether the filmmakers want to tell a story or just push an agenda. Ruffalo’s performance allows Cholodenko to do both. And do it well.

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