The Kids Are All Right

 (1,012)
7.01 h 47 min2010X-RayR
Two children conceived by artificial insemination and raised by two mothers bring their birth father into their family life.
Directors
Lisa Cholodenko
Starring
Julianne MooreMark RuffaloAnnette Bening
Genres
DramaLGBTQRomanceComedy
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Josh HutchersonMia WasikowskaKunal SharmaJoaquin GarridoEddie HassellZosia MametYaya Dacosta
Producers
Gary GilbertJeffrey Levy-HinteCeline RattrayDaniela Taplin LundbergJordan Horowitz
Studio
UNIVERSAL PAY TELEVISION
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Nuditysubstance usealcohol usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

1012 global ratings

  1. 66% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 9% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Jose R. PerezReviewed in the United States on December 3, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
An "Ordinary People" for the 21st Century
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I wasn't sure what to expect from "The Kids Are All Right" other than sublime performances from three of my favorite actors today - Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Rufalo. Whatever I was expecting did not compare to what the film delivered - in spades. In short, TKAAR is a testament to the true - and new - meaning of family and a postcard of hope to the millions of non-traditional families who comprise our new reality. I liken the film to 1980's Best Picture, Ordinary People, which captured effortlessly the family dynamic of the time with brutal honesty and raw emotion. Watching "Kids" was partly a lesson in how far we've come as a society as well as how far we still need to travel to accept the fact that families come in new flavors (a same-sex couple here - deliciously played by Bening and Moore) as well as thru the miracle of science (a sperm donor, absent for a lifetime but suddenly available and real to his offspring).

While the subject matter may be distasteful to some, what I found especially touching about the film's characters and themes was how incredibly NORMAL and REAL these people were. The two moms (referenced repeatedly by the two teenagers in this quintet in the singular) are our neighbors, daughters, sisters, friends, and co-workers. We ride the subway with them, share the car pools and accept - at least on a surface level - the reality of their choices, without judgment or fear. Bening and Moore deliver stunning portrayals as the lesbian couple - they share a lived-in comfort and rapport that's familiar...like our own parents, and our own relationships - gay, straight or otherwise. Their home is lived in and relaxed. The battle the same demons most of us can relate to (that 3rd glass of wine some nights after crazy-busy days...or the longing a housewife feels for what she might have missed, the second-guessing of choices that are inevitable in any long term relationship.

But for me, what brings the film together, in the end - and after much frustration as the story ebbs and flows - is Mark Buffalo as the long-forgotten - and rarely discussed man - who donated the fruit of his testes for money in college. His life is upended as his connection with these two women and the children he spawned flows effortlessly, and his immediate sensual connection to Moore's character brings his new-found sensibilities to a bitter, life-altering crash. Buffalo works wonders with a role that relies on his stiff-upper-lip attitude and facial emotions. We see his evolution throughout the film, from when his stranger-children resurface and he's thrown unmercilesly under a microscope, finding himself unsure of who he is or why. He's both at peace with his playboy life but also yearns to know all that he's missed, accept what's left to learn, and embrace all that he's yearned for but never understood. As his world crashes around him and the "moms'" deal with real-life issues every couple can relate to - questions of character, morality, resentments and "what might have been" - the film transcends the formula and becomes an intense study in family. The ties that bind are often fraught with doubt...and some are simply ripped away by complacency, resentment and the realities of what we give up to be who we ultimately become.

The way Buffalo comes full circle here is a tour-de-force, his best effort yet. Unassuming, yet so full of himself so as to risk everything to keep reality from intruding on his world. Julianne Moore is radiant - as always. I wish she were being submitted in the Supporting Actress category instead of Best Actress since she'd be a lock to finally win a well-deserved Oscar (she should have won for "Far from Heaven").

But ultimately - "Kids" is a classic character study of the definition of family, of dads, sisters, brothers and moms. Like Mary Tyler Moore's hateful mother-dearest in "Ordinary People" - Bening's no-holds-barred laser-focused and proud mom is one for the ages. Here, she's gifted and sarcastic, staunch and direct, loving, grateful, pragmatic but very much in love. Her interactions with her lover are casual, expected and tender - never exploitive to the viewer, but understood. These women have the lived-in quality of most long term couples I know - straight and gay. They're worn, but loving, celebrating and embracing the life they've created in the face of society's ongoing ignorance and distaste for gay families. Bening KNOWS it's not an easy life choice, but her spirit and deep sincere love shines thru even when the sharp, cruel edges of her character startle us. She's the tough mom, the bread-maker, the one who went for the dream (at another's expense), and made a home with the woman of her dreams. Bening is stunning - real, authentic and sympathetic - both in her spoken dialogue and in quiet unexpected shots of her amazing etch-a-sketch face which deliberately shows exactly what she's feeling, hearing, questioning, accepting, discovering and learning. It's a wonderful face, and a terrifyingly familiar character to anyone in a long-term relationship who has ever wondered "what if I wasn't with this person...who would I be?" While Moore's character ultimately experiences this specific collision of fate and doubt on screen, it is Bening who ultimately conveys the layers and textures of a proud woman, torn by reconciling the illusion of love with the consequences of living the lives we choose. Bening is over-due for Oscar love even though the competition this year will rival her two prior losses to Hilary Swank given the buzz for Natalie Portman in "Black Swan". In my mind, Bening's singular performance in "American Beauty" already puts her among the top 1% of our best actors, while "Bugsy", "Grifters" and "Running with Scissors" remind us of her range - and the rage she taps into from the gut. Only "American Beauty" comes close to her performance in "The Kids Are Alright" - and she deserves to be recognized and celebrated for her brilliant, no-holds-barred performance.

"The Kids are Alright" deserves to be widely seen by ANY couple in a long-term relationship, and especially career-couples with kids. The themes here are universal, despite the somewhat rare and obscure circumstances of the plot. It does help to remember that today, unconventional families -both traditional AND piecemeal - live on our block, or just down the street. Our kids play with their kids; the adults engage - or not - just as we do...we share dentists, playgrounds and car pools. And, in the end, even if we don't always see eye to eye (what neighbors do?) - we all want, crave and deserve the same thing ... to be happy, to have love, and to make a better future for our kids. "The Kids are Alright" is accessible, yet distant and obscure, but ultimately illuminating, with career-defining roles from Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo. A rare, beautifully rendered film about family that shatters myths and inspires self-reflection.
5 people found this helpful
Andrew EllingtonReviewed in the United States on December 6, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
This movie is more than all right...
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In a world where nearly every story line and plot point feels like an obvious cliché, it's nice to find a film that relishes inside those clichés with such rich character development they transcend, becoming real and raw and honest and even, despite their apparent familiarity, fresh and exciting.

Yes, `The Kids Are All Right' may appear on the outset to be a gigantic lump of clichéd material, masked over by the `modern twist' of a `modern family', but the heart of this film beats so naturally and so authentically you instantly forgive and even forget that you've, in a way, seen it all before.

This is `that' good.

The film considers the marital relationship between alpha-lesbian, Nic, and her supportive and somewhat neglected wife Jules. Their relationship, while grounded in obvious love, is tested when their two children seek out their donor father when the eldest turns eighteen. Joni and Laser (the children) are your typical teenage kids growing up in an anti-typical household. They have their insecurities and longings and a deep need for some closure with regards to their `father'. So, without parental consent, they seek out Paul; their fun loving, bed hopping father. Paul, still very much a kid himself, approaches the situation with an obvious naivety, which is instantly appealing to his daughter Joni and her mother Jules. Laser, and to a deeper extent Nic, are apprehensive, even distant; feeling that Paul is going to ruin their family dynamic.

When tensions begin to mount, that premonition proves true.

The film, as a whole, is about personal growth. Every character has their personal epiphanies based on their newfound `family'. Paul, the fifty-year-old bachelor, is beginning to doubt his life goals as he really connects to his paternal side. Jules, seeing the carefree nature of Paul (something they share), begins to question her relationship with Nic, who has become even more overbearing and critical with Paul's presence. Laser, who obviously longed for a father figure, begins to shape his identity as he observes who this man is and who he wants to emulate.

Like I said; personal growth.

The performances here are a figurative goldmine. I mean, I can't really see Bening losing the Oscar at this point (even if she isn't my personal favorite in the film, she has OSCAR written all over this performance). Everyone is so effortlessly natural and believable; even the children (played wonderfully by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasokowska). For me, the film is all about the charismatic beauty that resides between Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore. Together they make this film for me. Ruffalo is an actor I have always really liked, and this is easily his grand opus. Saying that sounds so odd, since this is such an internalized and quiet performance, one that is so natural and effortless that it could easily be passed over, beings that it isn't flashy. That would be so sad, because Ruffalo creates such a genuine and real man in Paul. My mind still recalls that initial phone call with his daughter; the way he stumbles through every word and his reaction to her nonchalance is just NOT fakable. He really understood this character. Moore layers all of Jules's complexities with such beauty and restraint. Nothing is overworked and oversold. You really see her for who she is, no gimmicks. In fact, every single scene is played (by every actor) with such honesty, for face value. The big surprise was Wasikowska (who, with any justice, will snag a surprise Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), who just finds such collective grace in her portrayal of the conflicted teen.

That final scene, the quivering chin...just WOW.

In the end I will just say that I am still quite smitten with this beautiful little film that understands its own direction and presents something intimate and sincere, finding the realistic tensions in life whilst remembering the beauty of the human smile; which is something I did a lot of while watching this movie.
9 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
I purchased this movie. I can play it in my DVD player and I like that.
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Any time I selected watch now, it went straight to someone else that had purchased it. Therefore I got billed for renting it on Amazon but Constantly went back to another persons name
HE WHO FUNKS BEHIND THE ROWS!!Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars
I Liked Overall, But Had A Problem With A Few Things In The Story...
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I found this movie to be very well-acted and well-directed.
The sexual scenes didn't bother me not one bit, like some of the other reviewers.
I mean, COME ON!!---This is life in the 21st Century!--Grow up already!
People get naked and they interact, okay?---Thank goodness that computers and gadgets
haven't spoiled that for us (yet!), as it has with basic conversational skills and other forms
of by-gone or slowly dying human interaction.

I actually know both a lesbian couple, as well as a gay male couple who
are living similar circumstances as in the premise of this movie.
I found it very modern, refreshing, and mature in it's approach to the subject matter.
I have long been a fan of Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore and Annette Benning's work,
and I also thought "the kids" themselves did an excellent job at portraying their roles.
My problem was in that I felt like the Mark Ruffalo character kind of had his once happy
and balanced, (for him), life just upheaved and torn apart when he gets contacted by these "kids",
who of course, have every right to know who their father / donor was, and also what his background is.
Ruffalo's character had a great attitude (I thought) about the whole thing...
He was naturally pensive and cautious at first, though not in a malicious way, but soon warmed to the
idea that he had these "kids" in his life now, and was more than open to getting to know them, and allow
them to get to know him. I felt that Annette Benning's character, who felt threatened, in addition to just
being an anal-retentive, controlling witch with a capital B, was very mean and cold towards Ruffalo's character.
Julianne Moore's character was a bit of a messy, confused, psychological user.

Moore's character is that kind of person who is filled with inner turmoil or frustration, but makes it everybody
else's problem around her. I hated how she treated the latino gardener too, just because she felt guilty
about all of the drama and calamity that she was causing in her affair with Ruffalo's character!
I always say: "Don't jump in the river, if you're not a strong swimmer, babe!" (-:

Ruffalo's character was the perfect outlet for her pent up sexual confusion / tension,
and the two (again) enter into a very complicated and torrid affair, which of course, could
only end in heartache for all concerned. As soon as Moore's character quenches her sexual thirst/curiosity,
she just basically returns back to her life relationship Benning's character and the "kids",
after she and Ruffalo's character are found out, and they all seem to throw Ruffalo's character under the bus...
As if to say, "Okay babe, we've all uprooted you from your life, and now we're done with ya!--So ummmm---kay, bye!"

This kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, as Ruffalo's character is literally left
on the outside looking in, as Benning & Moore & the kids reunion-reconnection happens without him.
He is locked out of their lives...Lives that he really never knew exsisted in the first place,
until they invaded his, satiated their curiosity, and sent him packing.
Not cool, I felt. )-:
Not saying that Ruffalo's character was a saint or anything, but the man had his own business
and his own life...as unorthodox as it was...but then again, wasn't Benning, Moore and the kids' lives
just as unorthodox? I guess I just wished that a balance could've been reached between all parties,
and it could've ended on that note, instead of Ruffalo's character, who btw, he played with a great spirit
& optimism, being dejected and disregarded. Just my humble opinion of course. (-:
I still enjoyed this movie though, despite its (what I considered to be) plot flaws. **4 Stars**
20 people found this helpful
P. Dean RobertsonReviewed in the United States on August 2, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
I'd Forgotten how Much I like this film
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Worth the rental prince and more. Really a good film with a terrific cast.
M. BullionsReviewed in the United States on December 14, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
A worthy Oscar candidate.
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In recent cinema, actors have failed to bring me to a sense where I genuinely cared about their characters. Even when they do a technically good acting job, they don't leave a sense of emotion, beauty, and enlightenment with you. They don't stay with you for long. They don't give you a reason, or a desire to return to the cinema and see their film again.

In The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko paints a canvas of thoughtful characters, an insightful script, a beautiful Californian setting, and even though it's no special-effects laden, CGI-heavy typical summer entertainment, it brings you more than any film you've seen over the summer. It has fantastic acting from its adult and younger actors alike. As of the very moment, I have seen this film twice. And both times, I laughed my ass off, I cried, I felt the emotion of the characters, and I left the cinema with a true sense of enlightenment and optimism.

The film follows a married lesbian couple, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) who have been together for many years. Their children, Joni and Lazer (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) are very happy, except they've always wondered about their biological father. They find their sperm donor, or father in Mark Ruffalo's Paul. Ruffalo seems somewhat typecast in the "idiot" parts, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering how well he plays it. The characters become bigger parts of each other's lives and butt heads, and without saying any more, people love, people hate, and they make mistakes.

Julianne Moore has certainly been on the top of her game in her recent work. With the few scenes she had in last winter's A Single Man, alongside powerhouse Colin Firth, and this spring's Chloe, alongside the surprising powerhouse Amanda Seyfried, and in this spring's season of Tina Fey's 30 Rock, great, even with a ridiculous Boston accent, she's been in top form. And Annette Bening, who I haven't seen for a while, also is fantastic in this film. You can believe that the two are a couple who have made it through the thick and the thin. The two ladies compliment each other very well.

However, the real heart of this film lies in Mia Wasikowska, who plays Joni, the older daughter. Her face really tells the story of the film. She says so much, without really saying anything at all. The recent Tim Burton remake of Alice In Wonderland being the only thing I remember seeing her in, I can tell you that she flexes her acting muscle more here. A scene near the film's end where her character leaves for college, you can see the emotion flooding her face, and it's a beautiful thing. Considering I'm a student who's about to leave for college in less than a month, perhaps I got more out of it than the average person would. Either way, it's an astounding performance.

One thing that sets this film apart from competing indie tragicomedies, is its mind. It has quite a bit of intelligence to it. And it's the perfect blend of comedy and drama. It may very well be this summer's equivalent to last year's (500) Days of Summer. A mix of wonderfully eclectic acting, an undeniably realistic feel, amazing acting from all of its cast, with a rockin' soundtrack, these Kids are more than all right.
One person found this helpful
Don Vito CorleoneReviewed in the United States on February 28, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent film about family
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The Kids are all Right is the best comedy I've seen. Is not a laugh per minute comedy like The Hangover or Tropic Thunder, is a more subdue one that also has its elements of drama. This is a story of two "moms" who have two kids and live as a family. Everything seems to be okay until the kids meet the sperm donor and things get complicated.

This movie could easily be called a movie about a lesbian couple with kids but it's not. It's about family and marriage in general regardless the gender of the parents. There are many situations in the film that any family experiences (gay or straight). Lisa Cholodenko's script is brilliant and handles this in a masterful way. The movie could have been seem as a "message movie" about gay rights but it's nothing of the sort. Is much more simple and at the same time complicated. The movie deals with themes like rutine, raising children, letting go, infidelity, recovery and a lot more. "marriage is hard" says Jules one of the "moms" and she's right there are ups and lows in every relationship and to keep the spark alive requires sacrifices. This movie is witty, emotional, and funny. It's no wonder why it got all the accolades it got. It deserved it. Also the cast is superb with the three leads Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo giving outstanding performances in their respective roles. The Kids are all Right is a great film and one of the best of last year.

The Blu-ray offers great picture and audio quality. Being an independent comedy, don't expect colors popping out of your screen but the picture is solid, contrast is sharp and detail is really good. Audio is also crisp and clear with a 5.1 DTS-HD master audio that won't rock your house but serves the film in an excellent way.

Unfortunately, while the BD has great P/A quality, there's no much in terms of bonus features. One would think that with all the positive reviews and awards that the film got, Universal will make a much worthier release. Instead you have three really short featurettes about the film that are promotional and never got in depth about the story, characters or anything. The best bonus feature is an audiocomentary provided by the director Lisa Cholodenko.

The Kids are All Right is a superb smart picture that has a great story, an outstanding script and a brilliant cast. The BD offers excellent picture and audio but the bonus material is a dissapointment. Anyway, the movie is so great that this set is completely recommended.
3 people found this helpful
C. G. SandersReviewed in the United States on October 12, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Hard Movie - a call to be better
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Highly imperfect, but likable characters, who love each other very much, at a difficult time in their lives, but end up hurting each other very much. Life. Sadly this is life for so many. This movie is a true portrait, ugly and true. No judgements, no recommendations, no ethical verdicts, no conclusions, just what is. I thought it was very well done, in this respect. At the end of it, all I have concluded is that this is a movie that makes us, as the main female lead says near the end, to MR's character, "I wanted you to be better". I think that's all we can do with a movie like this. It's difficult to "like" it. It's not a fantasy like Lord of the Rings. We can't admire and model ourselves after the characters like Gandalf or Aragorn. We can feel sad and want to honor their characters by being better.
5 people found this helpful
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