The recent success of The Kids are All Right at the Golden Globes prompted me to finally do a review on this movie. The indie film is also currently nominated for Outstanding Film in the 22nd Annual GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards. The Kids are All Right is a movie about two teens raised by a lesbian couple and are curious to find out about their biological father. The dramedy starts award-winning actress Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo. The kids are portrayed by Mia Wasikowska (who played Alice in ‘Alice in Wonderland’) and Josh Hutcherson from the extremely adorable film, “Little Manhattan”. I waited for a long time for this film and I’m glad to say that every minute was worth the wait.
Let me just say that I can personally relate to this film. As an openly gay lesbian, my partner and I have plans of having a baby someday. Yes, it will definitely cost a lot; hence, the efforts to save up for this and for marriage too. Why does being gay a lot more expensive than being straight? Anyway, moving on, I watched this film with my partner because it is a film that both of us can relate to.
Watching Jules in relation to Nic (portrayed by none other than the gorgeous Annette Bening) whose successful and fulfilling occupation makes her the primary provider of the family (she’s a physician, you see), I certainly could see myself as Jules (played by Julianne Moore, of course), an unsuccessful stay-at-home mom whose business start-ups are always fleeting and disastrous. No, I do not want to be unsuccessful and I definitely have no plans of starting up my own business. On the contrary, that person is more likely to be my partner – not the unsuccessful part, but the one who’s most likely to start her own business. My dream of being an archaeologist won’t exactly bring huge money to the household so I’m glad Love is good at handling finances (Haha!). I am relying on her to feed our kids and pay for their education. Kiddin’.
Back to the movie. One thing peculiar about the film is how the kids call their parents “Moms” to refer to their two, well, moms. It’s cute, it’s adorable. I love it. As teens, they’ve grown curious and interested to know who their biological father is who they tracked behind their “moms” backs. That’s when both drama and comedy ensue. Growing up without a dad, the kids realized they’ve missed a lot of things so they start catching up which leads to a snowball effect. Nic starts to question her authority as a parent. Juls *spoiler* sleeps with Paul (Mark Ruffalo). The kids turn to their biological father as an alternative parent. These are probably problems my partner and I will face in the future, minus the sleeping-with-the-biological-father part, and in essence, it gives us a way of dealing with it. Having your kids find out about artificial insemination on their own is a possible traumatic process for them and the movie shows a more optimistic alternative. This doesn’t always happen in real life though. So hide those documents real good. LOL.
For your kids to track their biological father all on their own is an amazing feat – for them, at least. Any parent would feel betrayed by this action and that certainly was how Nic felt. She felt how her own family was drawing away from her, even her own wife. While Jules’ adultery was inexcusable, I was confused by her actions. How could she say she’s a lesbian if she could easily sleep with a guy – and the father of their kids, at that? Her insecurities stemming from being unsuccessful in her business as compared to Nic’s stable OB-Gyn career and the constant pressure of being as established as Jules drove her to sleep with Paul but even that cannot explain why she would sleep with Paul. Yes, Paul showered her with attention. Nic didn’t. But he’s a guy. A guy! But that’s just the smaller picture. The larger picture would be that she committed adultery, which their kids eventually found out. Aah. The usual problems of married couples. How Nic and Jules, Joni and Laser dealt with it is what makes this movie ideal, at best. There was drama, but it wasn’t as heavy as most commercial films I’ve seen.
The best thing about indie films is that there are no censorships; no adjustments need to be done to suit the commercial audience and major networks. There is a funny sex scene I’m sure anyone can find themselves relating to, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or not. The problems, while portrayed by a lesbian household, are issues even heterosexual families experience. Adultery, rebellious teens, failure – all these and more are central issues to any family. The only difference is that there are more complications when kids grow up with gay parents.
The chemistry between Annette Bening and Julianne Moore is infallible. The teens are endearing. While Mark Ruffalo isn’t exactly on my list of favorite Hollywood actors, he portrayed his character’s laid-back and relaxed attitude really well. The dialogue is well-thought out and the story is watertight. All in all, anyone who’s a fan of indie films and gay movies will find this movie engaging and heart-warming. I really do hope that more films like this will be produced in the year to come.