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The Kids Are All Right

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award® nominees Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star in this funny, smart and vibrant portrait of a modern American family. Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are your average suburban couple raising their two teens, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), in Southern California. But when the kids secretly track
down their “donor dad,” Paul (Mark Ruffalo), an unexpected new chapter begins for everyone as family ties are defined, re-defined and then re-re-defined. Fall in love with the big-hearted comedy that critics are calling “one of the best films of the year!”
(Michael Phillips, At the Movies)

Amazon.com

If the relationships that anchor Lisa Cholodenko's warmly funny films appear unconventional, their problems--their pleasures--remain universal. In The Kids Are All Right (no relation to the Who documentary), she takes on a suburban Los Angeles family with two teens, Joni (Alice in Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska) and the unfortunately named Laser (Josh Hutcherson, The Bridge to Terabithia), and two mothers, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (an atypically relaxed Julianne Moore), who conceived via artificial insemination. Now that she's heading off to college, Laser urges 18-year-old Joni to seek out their birth father, who lives in the area (her name comes from folksinger Mitchell). Though she hits it off with Paul (Mark Ruffalo, effortlessly charming), a motorcycle-riding restaurant owner, Laser has his doubts (troublingly, the 15-year-old's best friend uses "faggot" as an all-purpose epithet). After they introduce Paul to their parents, allegiances start to shift. While Nic, a doctor, serves as breadwinner (and disciplinarian), Jules, a homemaker-turned-landscape artist, provides the nurturing. Paul, on the other hand, lives free from attachments, inciting both curiosity and suspicion. Furthermore, Jules finds him strangely irresistible, which only expands the fissures in her loving, yet unstable union. As with Laurel Canyon, Cholodenko doesn't just create fully rounded characters, but entire communities. In the end, Kids isn't about children vs. adults as much as the family unit vs. the singular outsider. Though the story concludes on a relatively happy note, it's clear where her allegiances lie. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Special Features

  • The Journey to Forming a Family
  • The Making of The Kids Are All Right
  • The Writer's Process
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Lisa Cholodenko

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening
    • Directors: Lisa Cholodenko
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Focus Features
    • DVD Release Date: November 16, 2010
    • Run Time: 107 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003L20ICE
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,673 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Kids Are All Right" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By googleit on January 17, 2011
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Yes, this movie is probably being at least a little overpraised by the critics. I suspect many of them consider it "brave" for a film to depict an ordinary American family, whose parents just happen to be lesbians. Let's face it, awards voters and critics love anything that deals with race, homosexuality, or any of the other hot-button social topics (witness the dreck known as "Crash" winning Best Picture a few years ago).

    None of which is meant to detract from The Kids are All Right, which is still quite an enjoyable small film. The acting especially is uniformly good. Annette Bening is sure to receive an Oscar nomination (well deserved), for her fantastic performance as Nic, the tightly-wound, more responsible half of the married couple formed by herself and Julianne Moore. Moore is also excellent playing Jules, a more aimless free-spirit type - their differences are a source of much of the comedy in the film. In all respects but their sexual orientation, they are a typical suburban married couple, with all the happiness and challenges that entails.

    Mark Ruffalo continues to be one of the most reliably good actors working today. He gives another standout performance as Paul, the biological father of Nic's daughter Joni and Jules' son Laser. As is often the case in his other films, Ruffalo's acting has such ease and charm that he makes his performance look deceptively easy. In lesser hands the character of Paul could have been the stereotypical charming bad-boy we've seen before in movies a million times. But Ruffalo gives him a warmth and humanity that makes the audience root for him (even when he screws up).

    My biggest complaint about the film was with a major plot twist involving Jules and Paul that seemed completely out of character to me.
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    61 of 73 people found the following review helpful By I. Sondel VINE VOICE on August 7, 2010
    Format: DVD
    The Kids Are All Right is a thoroughly entertaining slice-of-life domestic drama about two kids who look up their sperm-donor father, causing cataclysmic changes in the family dynamic. Not a unique premise save that the parents of the kids happen to be lesbians.

    The entire cause célèbre for this film is to show straight America how "normal" gay families are and that they shouldn't be afraid of "gay marriage" or "gay parenting," thus it doesn't delve too deep or wander too far off topic. Political film making is a tricky business. You'll remember the Tom Hanks drama Philadelphia was maligned by the LGBT activist fringe for all the issues it didn't address; to which my answer has always been: it's a two hour film, if you add too many spicy issues you're left with an unpalatable polemic.

    The script and direction by Lisa Cholodenko (High Art) are tight, well focused and only occasionally heavy-handed. Her characters are fresh, while being stereotypically familiar to pre-conditioned movie-goers. These are folks we know, people we work with and/or live in our neighborhood: "normal" people. Is it perfect? No; there an almost fatally flawed plot contrivance that seems only there to provide the filmmaker an all too easy source of conflict.

    What elevates the film above the run-of-mill movie-of-the-week domestic drama is the acting. Annette Benning is staggeringly good as the head of her household - the alpha female in this case. Her performance is embarrassingly rich; she presents a myriad of conflicting emotions, each one immediately recognizable, true and never over played. Julianne Moore turns in a lovely portrait of the less-successful, less self-assured partner.
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    11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Walters on February 26, 2011
    Format: DVD
    It seems to me the moral of the story is, if you're a lesbian couple then don't invite your sperm donor into your lives otherwise he'll make one of you temporarily "switch teams" so he can have a brief affair and antagonize your relationship with the children? I didn't really have any expectations for the movie and I barely knew what it was about going in. It's too bad because the acting was pretty good all around and the plot was intriguing and kept my attention. The resolution of the characters and their conflicts however is where the movie just fails for me. I get the filmmakers don't want to be predictable but the end of the movie had me not liking this family very much at all. Maybe that was the point, I don't know. Why build up a flawed but likeable character in Mark Ruffalo throughout the movie only to have the family members basically relieve themselves in his face when he doesn't deserve it and then just go on with their lives like nothing happened? I suppose the Paul character goes from being content with his free spirit life to wanting to settle down with a family. The other characters hardly go anywhere. By the end of the movie Nic is still the same self-centered insecure mother she was before. Jules is still indecisive and overly dependent on people for attention. Laser does dump his jerk of a friend but doesn't do much else the rest of the movie. Joni kisses her friend who apparently shares the same feelings but then that's it. She just goes off to college. The movie wasn't terrible but certainly not deserving of the Oscar attention it has gotten.
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