Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

One of the best films of 2010.

What happens when a happily married lesbian couple is turned upside down by their two children's decision to track down their biological father and anonymous sperm donor?

These are the premises behind the excellent The Kids Are Alright, certainly one of the best-acted, most charming and most thought-provoking films of 2010.

Cinema is rife with stories about "traditional" heterosexual parents striving to keep their authority intact, but never before has a film attempted to portray two ultra-liberal lesbian mothers struggling to hold together their family and preserve the values they so lovingly fostered.

The film is centred around five characters, the two mothers, laid-back Jules (Julianne Moore) and control-freak breadwinning Nic (Annette Bening), the two relatively happy and well-brought up teenage kids Laser and Joni, and finally their biological father Paul, played by Marc Ruffalo, an easy-going, self-satisfied, bike-riding organic food entrepreneur.

This bittersweet story is captivating right from the start, an excellent portrayal of quirks, frailties and neuroses not miles away from 2006's Little Miss Sunshine and its superb collection of cringeworthiness.

The combination of Nic feeling threatened by Paul's appearance, Jules' doubts about both her own sexuality and her relationship with Nic, as well as the two teenagers grappling with this new set of stresses are all ingredients for havoc.


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