The Kids Are All Right

For gay or straight parents, Mark Ruffalo’s character Paul in The Kids Are All Right---tanned, coolly scruffy and riding a motorcycle---is your basic nightmare. Moms Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have plenty to fret over when their children (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) seek out their sperm donor father (Ruffalo), but you really feel their discomfort when Paul comes to dinner, and his casual bravado upsets the disciplined and hyper-articulate tone. Lisa Cholodenko’s film is about the dangers of interlopers in tight-knit families and how they can sometimes magnify and extrapolate long-contained, but rarely addressed, tensions and problems. The script doesn’t shirk the messy realities of relationships, gay or straight, romantic or parental, but does have a frustrating tendency to cut to characters looking wistful or chastened, and away from juicy arguments and conversations right where one suspects the real dirt is about to fly. And that is a shame because Cholodenko has employed Bening, an actor among a very elite rank who can simultaneously titillate an audience and terrify them when she gets angry on film. –Hillary Titley

Credits

Director:

  • Lisa Cholodenko

Cast:

  • Annette Bening
  • Julianne Moore
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Mia Wasikowska
  • Josh Hutcherson
  • Yaya DaCosta
  • Kunal Sharma
  • Rebecca Lawrence
  • Amy Grabow
  • Eddie Hassell

Writers:

  • Stuart Blumberg
  • Lisa Cholodenko

Producers:

  • Gary Gilbert
  • Jordan Horowitz
  • Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

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