Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Stars: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson
The Story: Jules and Nic are wedded lesbians raising two teenaged kids, Mia and Laser, in Los Angeles. Their sprightly children are in fact biologically theirs thanks to artificial insemination via an anonymous sperm donor. Though their parents are loving and kind, Mia and Laser set out to find their biological father, Paul, out of curiosity.
Despite the initial awkwardness after finding him, the two teens and eventually Jules begin to bond with Paul. Paul’s laidback and relaxed demeanour manages to ingratiate himself with most of his newfound family except for Nic who distrusts him. After a while Paul’s incorporation into the family dynamic exposes the hidden cracks in Jules’ and Nic’s relationship while simultaneously disrupting their relationship with their children.
The Buzz: Co-written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, this film is loosely autobiographical. The Kids Are All Right earned universal critical praise at Sundance before garnering nominations for Best Picture in this year’s Golden Globes and Academy Awards. Star Annette Bening won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Nic.
inSing says: There is a certain novelty in watching a lesbian couple raise a family but the deeper you get into the issues that plague them, the more normal they seem. Like any couple, Jules and Nic have deep-seated trust issues, stemming from their contrasting personalities. Nic is a serious, vaguely alcoholic doctor, the sole breadwinner of the family, while Jules is an aimless free spirit.
Like any family with teenage kids, their children begin to rebel, question and yes, grow up. Mia is going off college soon and her quiet younger brother is under the influence of a meathead best-friend. Typical family problems, like I said. When Paul is introduced, he becomes the catalyst for the majority of the conflict that happens. This isn’t entirely blameable on Paul though, he just brought to surface what was already simmering underneath.
Paul is a good-sport and a nice guy but sometimes introducing a foreign element into a finely tuned structure can lead to a bit of a mess. Mark Ruffalo essentially plays the traditional Ruffalo role as moulded in You Can Count on Me - well-meaning but aloof. Meanwhile Moore displays impeccable comic timing and Bening totally owns as icy Nic.
The Kids Are All Right is at its heart, a touching and funny portrait of a modern family dealing with parenthood and growing up. It’s a lovely film that’s layered with un-clichéd developments and envelops you in its earnestness.
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 24-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia. Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.