Friday, July 30, 2010
The Kids Are All Right is kind of all right
The Kids Are All Right is a slice of marital and family life that feels real. And it feels real because there isn't a neat bow tying everything together, which is good. However, I somehow felt that something was missing.
The performances are stellar with the entire cast holding their own. Mark Ruffalo is strong as the man-child sperm donor who comes between a family headed by same-sex partners, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Their kids, 18 and 15, decide to reach out to their biological dad and he's accepted into the family for the most part. And that part is a little bit too close for comfort. Sexual lines are crossed wreaking havoc in the family that is in a rut. One mom likes her wine a bit too much, and the other one is a bit of a new age flake.
Ruffalo plays an "interloper" (as pointed out by Bening's character) and she's right. He's a guy lost in his womanizing, hippie lifestyle and wants a family that ultimately isn't his. But he's a likable loser. The kind of guy you really should stay away from until he grows up, which will probably be after the kids are grown. Ultimately, the problem with the film, despite it being a good film, is that there is too much focus on Ruffalo's character, and that takes away from the heart of the film, the family unit.
I'm still left wondering why Julianne's Moore's character has an affair with a man when she identifies herself as gay the entire time. She never questions that. Is being in a rut with the one you love enough to suddenly become "straight"? I felt that there is more needed to understand her motivation. Then again, sometimes people do stupid things just because they're bored. I think this movie deserves more than someone being "bored" though. It's smarter than that. However, this is all a minor quibble when in the presence of such great actors.