Sean K. Cureton

A Perfectly Dysfunctional Modern Family

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on August 17, 2010 at 11:13 am

The Kids Are All Right

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko

4 out of 4 stars

In recent years, it has become more and more noticeable that the definitions of the terms “family’ and “love” are changing. Gay couples are becoming more outspoken about their constitutional rights, which they believe entails them to be married, just like a man and a woman. With this argument the very definition of the term “love” has to be put under scrutiny. Through this scrutiny, TV and film has changed to address this cultural tension. Shows like Modern Family have become popular, where the situation of a gay couple is looked at side by side with straight couples in the hope of showing how normal gay couples are in the attempt to sway more conservative viewers feelings on the issue.

In film this summer, the release of the picture entitled The Kids Are All Right takes the scrutiny over gay marriage, and examines it by telling the story of a lesbian couple in California, living with two kids whom they got through a sperm donor. The two women are Nic and Jules, played fantastically by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. The kids are Joni, played by Alice in Wonderland’s Alice(Mia Wasikowska), whose birth mother is Nic, and Laser, whose birth mother is Jules, and is played by Josh Hutcherson, the former child actor from such films as Zathura(2005) and Journey to the Center of the Earth(2008). The plot of the film mainly surrounds the friction that arises when the kids contact their sperm donor father, played surprisingly well by Mark Ruffalo.

What is so great about this film is the fact that the gay couple in question, despite being played by two heterosexual women, come off as being perfectly natural and unforced. The fact that they’re gay isn’t forced down your throat at all, which is sometimes the case when gay characters appear in film. Instead, the director, Lisa Cholodenko simply presents these two women as exactly what they are: a completely normal, functional couple who love each other immensely and love their two kids just as much. The fact that they are lesbians is soon forgotten, and is quite frankly not of much importance to the film, aside from the obvious examination the film is already making on the acceptance of gay marriage.

Beyond that, this film simply has one of the most Oscar-worthy scripts in any movie I’ve seen this year. The dialogue and pacing of the plot is perfectly fine tuned to the characters, and nothing that happens feels out of place. Beyond that, the performances given from this stellar cast is nothing short of stellar.

In conclusion, the late summer release of Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right is a movie that is essential to the understanding of the nature of gay couples, and should be seen by anyone who loves great film.

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