Kids Are All Right

Kids Are All Right

3.9 14
Director: Lisa Cholodenko

Cast: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo

     
 

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The son of a same-sex couple seeks out the sperm donor who made his birth possible in this comedy from writer/director Lisa Cholodenko. The committed parents of two teenage children, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), are about to send their daughter, JoniSee more details below

Overview

The son of a same-sex couple seeks out the sperm donor who made his birth possible in this comedy from writer/director Lisa Cholodenko. The committed parents of two teenage children, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), are about to send their daughter, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), off to college when her younger brother, Laser (Josh Hutcherson), asks for her help in tracking down his biological father. Reluctantly inquiring with the sperm bank, Joni leaves her number so the office can pass it along to Laser's father. Enthusiastic at the thought of meeting his long lost offspring, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) musters the courage to reach out, and the family tree grows a new branch.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Lisa Cholodenko earned her indie cred with three films in six years that each focused on trials and tribulations specific to women. However, she's taken another six years to follow up her last movie, and the wait has been more than worth it. The Kids Are All Right opens with a seemingly happy nontraditional family getting ready to send their oldest daughter off to college. Type-A controlling doctor Nic (Annette Bening) and her free-wheeling wife, Jules (Julianne Moore), have been together for over two decades. With the help of the same sperm donor, they each birthed a child, and raised both in a tight nuclear family. Joni (Mia Wasikowska) is a straight-A student leaving in a few weeks for college, while 15-year-old Laser (Josh Hutcherson) is drifting toward a slacker's life with the help of his obnoxious best friend. The foursome's surface contentment gets shaken after Joni, at Laser's urging, makes contact with the sperm donor, a free-spirited restaurateur named Paul (Mark Ruffalo). Paul is smitten with the kids, meets "the moms" (as they're referred to by Joni and Laser), and eventually hires Jules to do some landscaping for him. As family dynamics shift due to Paul's influence, Nic begins to resent him, and when lustful cravings flare between Paul and Jules the entire family threatens to splinter. Some films are about plot, but The Kids Are All Right is about the characters. Cholodenko gives each of the five main characters complexity and depth, and her refusal to make any of them an easy villain or hero makes the movie not only her best, but one of the best of the year. Nic and Jules each carry pain and recrimination that will be familiar to anybody in a long-term relationship, and Bening and Moore each subtly let those bad feelings rise to the surface. They are both alternately infuriating and sympathetic. Ruffalo never loses sight of Paul's best instincts -- he is a quick read of other people and he has a strong work ethic -- but those talents go hand in hand with his emotional selfishness. Most of his scenes are with Moore, and it's pretty special when two actors as talented and naturalistic as those two have material that allows them to explore human behavior rather than service a plot -- their characters' attraction to each other is awkward, intense, and thoroughly understandable. The teen characters are just as multifaceted. Joni's first steps toward rebellion are both poignant and infuriating, and Wasikowska has an uncommon knack for simultaneously frustrating us while making us care for her -- for a 20-year-old with such an uncommonly pretty face, she's capable of indicating a great deal of emotion behind those beautiful eyes. Hutcherson turns what could easily be a standard-issue troubled teen into a specific person by making us see Laser's inherent goodness. He might not be sure enough of himself to share his feelings, but we never lose the sense that he'll do the right thing if only somebody shows him he can. It's rare to see an ensemble this strong, and the credit should go to Cholodenko and her co-screenwriter, Stuart Blumberg. They infuse the characters with a real sense of history -- we feel like we've been right there along with Nic and Jules for their entire marriage. And while each of the actors has at least one show-stopping monologue, they're all so talented that these scenes never feel like actors showing off, but rather like real people having been forced to the point where they have to say something. Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right stands alongside Nicole Holofcener's Please Give as two of the best films of the year, and while it's surely a coincidence that both would hit theaters in the months following Kathryn Bigelow's Best Director Oscar win, it's hard to shake the sense that we're in a moment where independent-minded female filmmakers are giving audiences some of the most challenging and truthful films in America.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/16/2010
UPC:
0025192066856
Original Release:
2010
Rating:
R
Source:
Focus Features
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:47:00
Sales rank:
40,447

Special Features

The Journey to Forming a Family; The Making of The Kids Are All Right; The Writer's Process; Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Lisa Cholodenko

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Annette Bening Nic
Julianne Moore Jules
Mark Ruffalo Paul
Mia Wasikowska Joni
Josh Hutcherson Laser
Yaya DaCosta Tanya
Kunal Sharma Jai
Eddie Hassell Clay
Zosia Mamet Sasha
Joaquin Garrido Luis
Rebecca Lawrence Brooke
Lisa Eisner Stella
Eric Eisner Joel
Sasha Spielberg Waify Girl
James MacDonald Clay's Dad
Margo Victor Bartender

Technical Credits
Lisa Cholodenko Director,Screenwriter
Julie Berghoff Production Designer
Stuart Blumberg Screenwriter
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Charles E. Bush Co-producer
Christy Scott Cashman Executive Producer
James Pearse Connelly Art Director
Liz Dean Casting
Frank Gaeta Sound/Sound Designer
Jose Antonio Garcia Sound Mixer
Gary Gilbert Producer
Mary Claire Hannan Costumes/Costume Designer
J. Todd Harris Executive Producer
Philippe Hellmann Producer
Jordan Horowitz Producer
Joe Iemola Sound Editor
Igor Jadue-Lillo Cinematographer
Neil Katz Executive Producer
Todd J. Labarowski Co-producer
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte Producer
Daniela Taplin Lundberg Producer
Riva Marker Executive Producer
Camille Moreau Co-producer
Joel Newton Co-producer
Jesse Nye Asst. Director
Anne O'Shea Executive Producer
Celine Rattray Producer
Liza Richardson Musical Direction/Supervision
Laura Rosenthal Casting,Co-producer
Andrew Sawyer Executive Producer
Steven Saxton Executive Producer
Ronnie Specter Makeup
Ron Stein Executive Producer
Bergen Swanson Co-producer
Daniela Taplin-Lundberg Producer
Elmo Weber Sound/Sound Designer
Jeffrey M. Werner Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Kids Are All Right
1. Two Moms (Main Titles) [8:42]
2. Donor Dad [4:48]
3. Big Expectations [6:41]
4. Who's Paul? [6:19]
5. Nice to Meet You [4:00]
6. Limited Involvement [4:28]
7. More is More [4:22]
8. Hanging With the Guys [4:55]
9. Breaking Ground [5:37]
10. Unrestricted [3:27]
11. Clear the Air [:00]
12. Taking Over [4:20]
13. Sticky Situation [5:05]
14. Falling For You [3:30]
15. Unconventional [4:39]
16. Other People [8:21]
17. Called Out [3:49]
18. Interloper [5:35]
19. Spread Your Wings [6:39]
20. End Titles [6:48]

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