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The Kids Are All Right


The world we live in is constantly changing. Cultural practices are vastly different from even ten years ago. Naturally, that means films about society have to adapt with the outside world. In comes, The Kids Are All Right to showcase a growing portion of the family unit in the United States, and world, today.

Grade:

Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) were born to a lesbian couple, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore). Now that Joni is eighteen, Laser requests that she at least attempt to contact their donor father. Turns out, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) is an organic-loving, hippie restaurant owner that quickly becomes the catalyst in breaking down the “perfect family” shell Nic and Jules had built for their family.

The appealing aspect about Kids is the socially relevant story. How does a gay couple raise two kids? Will the kids be normal? Obviously, these are questions easily answered by supporters of gay marriage, but some people need convincing. Yet, Kids attempts to address other, not so easily answered questions. How does a teenage male react during puberty without a dominant male figure in his life? How does a gay couple explain sexual urges to their children, especially a son of a lesbian couple? These are the questions that really dig into the dynamic of the family. However, they are answered quickly (the son hangs out with testosterone fueled males; they can’t explain why a lesbian couple watches male gay porn), so the real reason to finish watching is the acting.

With this cast, the story could have been about anything and it still would have been compelling. Bening and Moore are excellent, but I don’t think there were any expectations to the contrary. They look and act like an actual couple, and raise their kids as such. I’ve stated before that I’m unconvinced about Ruffalo, but he was perfect for this role. Laid back, loving life, but still yearning for a more adult life seems to suit him perfectly. The winner for me was Wasikowska. I had previously seen her in Alice in Wonderland, but that makes it difficult to judge anyone except Tim Burton or Johnny Depp. In Kids, she shows the struggles of a normal eighteen-year-old, let alone one who has two moms. She toes the line between strong young woman and vulnerable child very well throughout the film.

Hutcherson isn’t given much of a chance in Kids. He is the most ignored of the five and is only really asked to brood quietly in the corner. From his moms accusing him of being gay to hanging out with a giant tool, Laser clearly is searching for something, but it isn’t Paul and it’s not coming soon.

There is little to truly fault Kids for because it takes a seemingly short story and keeps you – at least relatively – interested throughout. The only issue is how you feel afterward. You are left with a somewhat underwhelmed sense of “oh, that was a nice story, now what?” This may be the goal to convince anti-homosexuals to lessen their disdain, but for supporters like myself, not much is attained from this film other than knowing Bening, Moore, Ruffalo and Wasikowska are good actors and watching a well-made film.

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    • Steph
    • May 24th, 2012

    yeah! i loved the movie and the review 🙂 Exciting, because I haven’t seen any of the movies you’ve reviewed lately (yet!) lol

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