Sean K. Cureton

Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews: 2010’ Category

Oscars 2011: What About the Other Pictures?

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on February 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm


It really is too bad the Oscars last night were as disappointing as they were. With all of the fantastic films that could have won, it was simply infuriating that almost every major award went to someone involved with the King’s Speech. Now, this is not to say that the King’s Speech isn’t a great film, but simply that it did not merit getting as many awards as it did. Quite frankly, the fact that it did get a vast majority of the major awards just makes the Academy seem biased towards British period pieces and anything else that is inspired by actual events(The Queen, Schindler’s List, A Beautiful Mind).

Beyond that, the hosts this year were abysmal. Not to blame James Franco or Anne Hathaway, who are both superb performers, but their hosting abilities were simply the worst I’ve seen since Ellen DeGeneres. What the Academy needs to do is go back to having one host again, and also making sure that that host is either A) a comedian or B) someone who is charismatic and can carry the show. Ideally, it would be great if they could get Billy Crystal to come back, or even Chris Rock, but with Crystal’s increasing age, and Rock’s sometimes questionable material, it seems unlikely that the Academy would go back to either of those two. But the point still remains that the host next year should be singular and funny.

WIth The King’s Speech taking almost every major award available, many of the other films nominated that should have been recognized in some way were completely kicked aside and forgotten entirely. First and foremost, Christopher Nolan’s original screenplay for Inception was passed over for The King’s Speech. Why? Why would the Academy so blatantly disregard Christopher Nolan again after passing him in 2008 for his film The Dark Knight? Inception was by far the most original film that was released this year, and as it seemed obvious that Nolan was probably not going to win for director or best picture, it seemed obvious to give him best original screenplay. Instead, by giving the award to King’s Speech, the Academy has chosen a script that could ultimately have been written by anybody, where Inception is clearly a much more original and unique story that could only have been written by Nolan.

The next award that was wrongly given to King’s Speech was best director, awarded to Tom Hooper instead of either A) David Fincher or B) Darren Aronofsky. Ideally, Aronofsky should have won this award for directing what this writer believes to be the best film of the year, Black Swan. Swan was so moving, frightening, and resonant with its images of fear, fragility, and uncontrollable ambition that it would seem that it would be a shoe-in to win Best Director. And if not Aronofsky, FIncher was surely a much better choice than Hooper, with his film that has been heralded as the best movie of the 21st century with its undertones that recall Orson Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane. But no. Instead, the Academy went with The King’s Speech’s Hooper, since they seem to love that film so much.

Finally, we get to best picture, and who should win but The King’s Speech. After all, it has won almost every other major award. But what about Black Swan, The Social Network, Inception, Toy Story 3, The Kids Are All Right, The Fighter, WInter’s Bone, or True Grit? They were all fantastic films this year, and quite possibly better suited for the award of Best Picture. In picking The King’s Speech again, one final time, the Academy is choosing a film that is about royalty overcoming all barriers to emerge victorious. I wonder if the Academy chooses its films based on what films resonate most with its own political agenda and social status. Why not pick a film about royalty, when the Academy is in the seat of highest authority when it comes to picking the best of the best in film?

But, for all its faults, this year’s Oscar ceremony did have some great wins for people who truely deserved the praise lauded onto them. First, Lee Unkrich got to accept the award for best Animated Feature for Toy Story 3, a moment that seemed all the more special for the simple fact that Unkrich had never directed a feature film at Pixar before, so it was the first time for him to be accepting an Oscar on behalf of the much beloved animation studio in that capacity. Next, it was really a sweet moment to listen to Randy Newman accept his award for Best Original Song, as he is truly one of the best composers the world has ever known. It was also fanastic that Natalie Portman won Best Actress for Black Swan, which as has been said before, was one of the best fims of the year. And it was satisfying to see Chrsitian Bale and Colin Firth win their respective Oscars for The Fighter and The King’s Speech, as they both did seem to be the best candidates for each of their respective categories.

So, with the close of the Oscars this year, there is a certain saddness in this writer’s heart knowing that the films that seemed to be shoe-ins in their categories lost out to a film that was neither original nor “the best of” when compared to the other films that were nominated. But, it is important to remember that there is always next year, and one can remember that there was that golden year at the Oscars in 2004 when The Return of the King brought home the gold in almost every category, and Billy Crystal reminded everyone how much fun a good host can make this holy grail of film award ceremonies. Until next year, keep watching, keep thinking, and keep believing.

Advertisements

127 Hours

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

127 Hours
Directed by Danny Boyle
3 out of 4 stars

Since the success of his Oscar wining film Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, director Danny Boyle has come into the spotlight as a great director. Slumdog, which was a rather dull film about an Indian boy winning a million dollars on a game show, among other things, was interesting to say the least. But was Slumdog truly that great of a film? And is Danny Boyle really that great as a director?

With 2010’s release of 127 Hours, some critics think Boyle has produced another Oscar worthy film. Based on the experiences of canyoneer Aron Ralston, 127 Hours tells the true story of how Ralston had to live for five days in a canyon where his arm had been caught between a boulder and the canyon wall. With such an interesting idea, and such a respected director in tow, what could go wrong?

Here’s the truth of the matter: Danny Boyle is not as good as some of the acclaim he has received might suggest. While some might think his direction lends itself to a more commercial and easier to grasp style, the simple fact of the matter is that Boyle is not a great film maker in the classic sense, in that his films often don’t feel like films at all. In 127 Hours, Boyle repeatedly edits the film so that there are several sequences where we have a split screen with three images at the same time. It’s hard to tell why Boyle does this so often in the film, as it doesn’t seem to lend the film anything, and is quite frankly a bit disorienting and ugly to look at time and time again. Beyond that, the split screen shots could have been done in a much more fluid way by just simply pointing the camera directly at James Franco’s face, who plays the lead role of Aron Ralston in the film.

Luckily, James Franco’s largely solo performance, which takes up the bulk of the film, is spot on. Franco plays the part of Ralston so well, that the audience can feel everything that Franco’s character is going through. Franco again shows himself to be a great actor in this film, and furthers his range in the process. It is a sheer joy to watch Franco act largely by himself for the entire 94 minutes, even in the most gruesome scene of the film, where Ralston has to sever his own arm with a dull knife.

In conclusion, Danny Boyle is not the best director in the world, he certainly does not deserve another Oscar for this film, but because of James Franco’s performance, 127 Hours pulls through by capturing one of the best performances in film in 2010.

Oscars 2011 Predictions, Hopes, and Wishes

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Keep in mind this is only going off of the films I have seen from 2010, and does not include every film, actor, director, ect. It is a list of some of the major categories and who I think should win and be included in those categories.

Best Actor:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
2. Ben Stiller for Greenberg
3. Jeff Bridges for True Grit
4. Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
5. James Franco for 127 Hours

Who Should Win:
Ben Stiller

Who Will Win:
Colin Firth

Best Actress:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. Natalie Portman for Black Swan
2. Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
3. Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
4. Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right

Who Should Win:
Natalie Portman

Who Will Win:
Natalie Portman

Best Original Screenplay:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. Noah Baumbach for Greenberg
2. Christopher Nolan for Inception
3. Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right

Who Should Win:
Christopher Nolan

Who Will Win:
Christopher Nolan

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network
2. The Coen Brothers for True Grit

Who Should Win:
Aaron Sorkin

Who Will Win:
Aaron Sorkin

Best Director:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. David Fincher for The Social Network
2. Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right
3. The Coen Brothers for True Grit
4. Christopher Nolan for Inception
5. Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
6. Noah Baumbach for Greenberg

Who Should Win:
Darren Aronofsky

Who Will Win:
David Fincher

Best Picture:
Who Should Be Nominated:
1. The Social Network
2. Toy Story 3
3. Black Swan
4. True Grit
5. The Kids Are All Right
6. Greenberg
7. Inception
8. The King’s Speech

Who Should Win:
Black Swan

Who Will Win:
The Social Network

Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Somewhere
Directed by Sofia Coppola
3 out of 4 stars

Towards the end of every year, there are a number of films that are released with the hopes of being considered for Golden Globe and Oscar recognition for the previous year, despite the fact that they could very easily have been released within the beginning of the next year. Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is a film that seems to fall into that category. While it was technically released in 2010, Somewhere was released so late in the year that many theatre goers may have not seen it before the end of 2010. However, given that it is a Sofia Coppola film, the judges of the Oscars will certainly put it under consideration, as it is obviously a film of substance.

But regardless of whether or not Ms. Coppola was trying to get her film released in time for the 2010 award season, it still stands that Somewhere may not in fact be one of the best films of the year. While being a very interesting film, and a film that keeps the audience’s attention for the full 97 minutes allotted to it, Coppola’s Somewhere, despite being a well directed and interesting film, just doesn’t feel like a great film, especially when compared to other films released in 2010, like Black Swan, True Grit, or The Social Network.

While Coppola’s character study of Johnny Marco, a young and misanthropic actor played by Stephen Dorff, is interesting, it is also very empty and leaves much to be desired. The point of the matter is that Somewhere doesn’t seem to be about anything at all. Much of the film feels like a dragged out character description of Johnny, who is quiet frankly, an asshole bum who would be hard to watch if it were not for Ms. Coppola’s superb directing ability. Without a plot, the viewer is instead shown a series of events in Johnny’s life, including various parties, sequences of Johnny driving his sports car, and two very long and somewhat awkward scenes of Johnny watching strippers.

Luckily, Ms. Coppola did not force her viewers to watch Johnny alone, but also included his daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning, whose relationship with her father partially makes up for Johnny’s lack of ambition. The scenes with Johnny and his daughter, which largely make up the second half of the film, are great in that they seem to offer some kind of narrative to follow, even if it is not a very complete one.

All in all, Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is a good film, but not a great film, nor one of the best films of the year. It certainly seems to situate itself among the better films of the year, but does not quiet cut it as one of the best. Released in 2011, who knows how it might have fared come award season, but the fact is that 2010 has produced some of the best films in a long time, and Somewhere just doesn’t seem to measure up to some of the other films of 2010. If you haven’t seen Somewhere, you should see it, as it is certainly a fine example of great film making, but do not expect another Lost in Translation. Just enjoy Somewhere for what it is: another example of how talented Sofia Coppola is as a director.

Tron Has Never Looked This Good

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Tron: Legacy
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
3 out of 4 stars

After 28 years, it would seem as though Hollywood had completely forgotten about the 1982 Sci-Fi epic Tron. Based in a world very similar to our own, the 1982 film centered around video game designer Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, who was sucked into the computer program he had helped create. Inside the program, Kevin must fight for his own survival against evil “programs” within the computer system, which all look and act like neon-colored human beings. With the help of such good “programs” as Tron, played by Bruce Boxleitner, Kevin is able to make his way through the program by playing “games,” such as racing on high tech motor bikes and fighting in arenas against other “programs” with his identity disk. Eventually, Kevin gets back to the real world, and takes control of the company that he had been previously working for.

Now, with the 2010 release of Tron: Legacy, Disney has polished the world and basic plot-line of the 1982 film, and made it again for a whole new generation. Although Legacy is technically a sequel, one could very easily go to see it knowing nothing about the original film. This time around, the world of Tron focuses on Sam Flynn, played by Garrett Hedlund, the son of Kevin who has been left by his father for nearly 28 years (seems fitting). Sam then enters the same program his father entered in the first film, only to find a much more colorful and sleeker world than the one his father entered 28 years ago. Sam then fights for his life, just like his father did, and finds his father who has been imprisoned by a “program” called Clu, played again by Jeff Bridges, and modeled after a much younger Kevin. After Sam and Kevin reunite, they decide to push ahead together to find their way past Clu, and out of the computer system. Ultimately, Kevin sacrifices himself for Sam, Clu is defeated, and Sam comes back to the real world to take control of his father’s old company.

Obviously, no one will be going to this movie for an exciting script and interesting characters. But that is not what makes this film franchise so much fun. Despite the fact that some of the characters are clunky, and the story is very predictable, the uniqueness of the world in Tron in and of itself is worth the price of admission. Where the 1982 film had very subdued colors, and a lot of the world was very confusing and hard to understand at times, Tron: Legacy is bright and polished, and the basic workings within the world are much easier to grasp this time around. Frankly, it’s been a long time since a Sci-Fi world looked this good.

Beyond that, Jeff Bridges is back, which is always great, and Olivia Wilde is fun to watch as the naïve program Quorra. Also, Daft Punk supplies all of the score in this film, which is original and fitting for the action taking place on screen. The electro-duo even makes a cameo appearence in the film, as two DJ’s in a club.

If you haven’t seen Tron: Legacy yet, and you tend to like Sci-Fi, go ahead and see it. If not, go and see it anyway, as it is very assessable, and has special effects that are much cooler than anything else these days (I’m looking at you Avatar). By being loyal to the original film, and by expanding the ideas of the original film so that it’s world is even more expansive and easier to understand, Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy is the best Sci-Fi film that has been released in a long time.

“The Dude” for the “The Duke”

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on December 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

True Grit
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
3 ½ out of 4 stars

The new Coen Brothers film, True Grit, a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film, is one of the best Coen Brothers movies made to date. Based on the novel by Charles Portis, the Coen Brothers have made a film that is both true to its source material and original in its own right. Where the John Wayne film seemed clean and held back, the Coen Brothers film is unrelenting, and more true to the title of the film.

Based in 1870’s America, True Grit tells the tale of Mattie Ross, played by Hailee Steinfeld, a young girl out for vengance against the man who killed her father. In order to confront this task, Mattie enlists the help of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, played by “the Dude” himself, Jeff Bridges. Along the way, Mattie and Rooster grudgingly accept the assistance of Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, played by Matt Damon, who is both a help and a hindrance. By the end of the film, Mattie finds and captures the man she is after, named Tom Chaney who is played by Josh Brolin, and the three heroes go home with heads held high.

The sheer mastery that is this film does not stop with its timeless Western story, but is enforced by its stellar cast, breathtaking cinematography, and dark humor, that could only be provided by the Coen Brothers. Jeff Bridges gives another phenomenal performance of his entire career as Rooster, the one-eyed fat man, as he stumbles along the screen shooting a pistol in one hand, drinking whiskey with the other, and cracking wise all at the same time. Matt Damon is also in top acting shape in this film, and gives LaBoeuf life where Glen Campbell’s 1969 performance was lacking to say the least. And Hailee Steinfeld delivers her big acting break in a performance of a lifetime as Mattie Ross.

Beyond the stellar cast, True Grit has some of the best looking shots of any film this year. Cinematographer Roger Deakins really gives the American West life in this film, and his beautiful shots offset the darker content of the narrative of the film. And beyond that, the Coen Brothers’ new film is also just as funny as any of their other films. Despite the fact that this film is about murder and vengeance in blood, the Coen Brothers still manage to find something to joke about in their True Grit, with laughs coming mainly from the usage of dialect and their own comments on the narrative’s various situations.

Come Oscar time, True Grit will no doubt be nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, as it should be.

Black Swan

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on December 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Black Swan
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
3 ½ out of 4 stars

The opening shots of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan features actress Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers, a beautiful young ballerina, performing as the Swan Queen in the classic ballet “Swan Lake.” These opening shots are striking, in that they seem to evoke the emotions and themes of the rest of the film in a matter of minutes through the use of minimal lighting, and the contrast between Nina and her co-star, a large black male swan, of a monstrous quality. Both white and black, or fragility and power, seem to emanate in this opening scene, and the rest of the film.

Throughout the film, black and white colors are used to heighten the contrast evoked by the first scene, and to strengthen this contrast’s importance in relation to Nina. The film focuses on a production of “Swan Lake,” where Nina is cast as the Swan Queen, and is ultimately overtaken by the role and her need for perfection within it. The way in which Aronofsky is able to show Nina, in both her beauty and her madness, is both beautiful and horrifying. As Nina becomes more and more obsessed with the role, and starts to lose more and more of her grip on reality, the things Nina sees and thinks become increasingly disturbing, until the point where Nina is completely devoured by the production.

Beyond Aronofsky’s own directorial brilliance, this film also shines because of every actor in it. Natalie Portman gives the performance of her career as a young woman having a traumatic psychological breakdown. Mila Kunis makes an unexpectedly brilliant turn as the rival dancer Lily, who may or may not be as dangerous as Nina thinks she is. Beyond that, Barbara Hershey plays the overbearing mother exceptionally well, Vincent Cassel is effectively disgusting as the choreographer, and Winona Ryder makes a surprise appearance as ex-dancer Beth Macintyre.

In summary, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is one of the best films of this holiday season and this year. Come Oscar time, there is no doubt that this film will be in the running for more than one award. With a Golden Globe nomination already, Natalie Portman has without a doubt given her most Oscar worthy performance, and has again proved herself to be one of the best actresses working in Hollywood today. With its startling imagery and spot on performances, it would be a grave mistake to miss seeing Black Swan.

The Final Chapter

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on November 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Directed by David Yates
3 out of 4 stars

Up to this point, the Harry Potter movie franchise has been plagued with unending problems. What started out as a loving adaptation of the beloved series of books written by J.K. Rowling has turned into a parade of mostly cringe worthy films that have kept little to none of the essence and spirit of the books. And the past two films, both directed by Deathly Hallows director David Yates, have been by far the worst movies in the entire series. Based on the past two films, it would seem as though Yates had no idea what was going on in the books, and therefore made really awful film adaptations based on his absolute lack of knowledge of the books themselves. It also doesn’t help that Yates may be one of the worst directors to ever pick up a camera. The fact that Yates has made two films that have gained a lot of attention and gathered a lot of money world wide due solely to the fact that the films are part of a multi-billion dollar franchise is heartbreaking. However, despite Yates’ own ineptitude as a director, and despite the abysmal quality of his first two Potter fiascos, Yates has finally done something right with the first installment of the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Yates has finally delivered a Potter film that lives up to the books. Not only that, but the film itself is not all that bad either. Instead of getting rid of crucial scenes, cutting corners, and making up completely frivolous and unnecessary sub-plots, Yates has taken great attention to all of the details of Rowling’s final novel, and has been able to adapt it without leaving out anything too important. From the first scene with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, to Harry, Ron, and Hermione chasing down the final horcruxes, this Potter film finally provides fans with the first truly faithful Potter adaptation since the first two films in the series. Everything that happens on screen will remind fans of the pleasures of reading the book, and will bring back fond memories in some of waiting in line at midnight to be one of the first people to receive the final chapter.

Not only is this film faithful to its source material, but it truly delivers a satisfying conclusion to a movie series that has been going on since 2001. Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely, every character that has been presented in the films makes an appearance, and the audience is left with the feeling that they have spent their time well following this magical and gripping series.

However, there are a few flaws with this film, as must be expected given Yates’ track record with the last two Potter films. One, there is not nearly enough Snape, played by the amazingly talented Alan Rickman. The fact that this series has trivialized Snape to such an extent is criminal, given how important he is to the series. The second thing that this film did wrong was to start the film not with the Death Eaters’ meeting, but with a completely non-authentic scene of Hermione erasing her existence from her Muggle parents. This scene alone was probably the worst thing about the movie, and quite frankly made me want to vomit. Finally, the last thing that I really didn’t like about the film was the way in which the story of the Deathly Hallows was presented via an elaborate animated sequence. Instead of just casting actors to portray the parts in this short story within the larger narrative, Yates decided to create a very cheap looking animation using mainly shadows and somewhat dark imagery. While the tone of the animation may have gone along with the film as a whole, it still felt like a cop out, and could just as easily and more effectively been done with actual actors.

Despite these small flaws, and the flaws that were the two previous Yates films in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was the best film in the movie franchise since the Mike Newell directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In the first part of the final film in the series, Yates has redeemed himself to an extent, and has provided avid Potter fans with both a satisfactory adaptation and a good Potter film. The only thing to do now is to wait for the second part this summer, and to hope that it will be just as good as the first part, and will effectively wrap up the movie franchise in a pleasing way.

Citizen Zuckerberg

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on October 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

The Social Network

Directed by David Fincher

3 ½ out of 4 stars

 

After the not so great release of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008, David Fincher has since left a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth of this reviewer. It would have seemed as though Mr. Fincher, the critically acclaimed director of such films as Fight Club (1999) and Seven (1995) had moved away from directing films with socking and controversial topics to directing films with a more wholesome and realistic quality. While this may have been perfectly fine for some directors, the fact that Fincher’s first films were so shocking made one come to expect the same amount of shock value from all of his films. But as Button clearly shows, Fincher is interested in making films that are centered in a more recognizable universe as well, no matter how much one may have loved the gritty surrealism of Fight Club.

However, with the fall release of his new film The Social Network, Fincher has offered a world that is an almost mirror image of our own, while still retaining a lot of the edginess that has come to define a great majority of his work. The new film is based on a book called The Accidental Billionaires written by Ben Merich, and like the book, tells the story of the founding of Facebook, the billion dollar online social network, which was created in large part by Mark Zuckerberg.

The film is centered around two depositions being held against Zuckerberg, played superbly in the film by Jesse Eisenberg, over ownership rights to the Facebook franchise. The first deposition is being raised by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, both played by Armie Hammer, who claim that Facebook was a stolen idea based on their planned social network which they had hired Zuckerberg to create for them. The second deposition is raised by Zuckerberg’s only friend in the film, Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield. The bulk of the film’s narrative is told in the form of flashbacks that are triggered by questions asked in the two depositions.

Much of the film seems to echo the themes and plot structure of Orson Welles’ 1941 classic Citizen Kane. The story of a brilliant man who comes into a position of great wealth, power, and popularity can be applied to both Kane and Fincher’s Zuckerberg, and the structure of telling such a story primarily in flashbacks is a founding pillar in both films.

But the comparison that can be made between this film and Welles’ classic is not the only thing that makes this film great. While being a superbly directed film about a tragic fall from grace, this film also provides one of the first real examinations of the Facebook generation in film. The fact that Zuckerberg is portrayed as being such a social recluse who is often awkward in real life, but finds relief in recreating his image on the internet through blogging and the eventual creation of his billion dollar online enterprise seems to mirror a lot of today’s youth.

Beyond that, this film boasts some of the best filmed shots and sequences of this year, as well as one of the best screenplays. The acting performances are also all superb, from Eisenberg and Garfield, down to the smaller roles, such as Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Zuckerberg’s spurned girlfriend Erica Albright, and even Justin Timberlake’s slimy performance as Sean Parker.

With the release of 2010’s The Social Network, director David Fincher has proved that he can make films that are based in the real world while retaining the same edge that he has always possessed.

 

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.