..I mean the Kids are Alright?????
Ok – I will admit, when I first heard the premise for this movie, I thought “Really?! They are just basically re-making “Made in America” But instead of Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson, they are using two lesbians. Really?! Come on… is Hollywood completely out of original ideas?”
Whoops. My Bad. Sorry. Book cover judge I should not be.
It is the powerful story of a lesbian couple, with 2 teenagers, and the day in-day out struggles every couple of long-term commitment face. Shot in a straight forward style, capturing the story succinctly and simply, allowing the tale to unfold in front of us with a simplified style and grace that is both unfettered and embellished.
The real star of this piece is Annette Bening, The bread winning doctor mom who shows an angry sarcastic range for the first two-thirds of the peice before shucking said shell to show the powerful vulnerable side underneath. Though not as ranging a role as one might hope from a similar character, and sufficiently detached and an undercurrent of emotionless work, the character grows throughout the film. I say grows – maybe softens is a better term
Standing opposite her is Mark Ruffalo, the (until recently) anonymous sperm donor that created both teenagers. A restaurant owner, his character seems to be just as apt to put down “Californian” or “Beach Bum” down on his taxes. His laid back southern California charm washes over all like a breath of fresh air at first – but wears on you as predictable by the end. His simple charm, soft grace becomes the hindrance by the film’s completion.
The excellent writing is the flow that keeps the tide coming in and out of this piece. The story is simple, yet simply complex. Though a relatively uncomplicated storyline, the witty repartee between the characters is, in and of itself, a character. The pacing and plot draws a course like connecting the dots, leading us to the bigger picture.
All in all, The Kids are All Right is a good overall film. Everything is done well – but none is done exceptionally well. While it is a highly entertaining and enjoyable piece – it is not in serious Oscar contention.