Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Kids Are All Right

Nic & Jules are a same sex couple whose teenage children Joni and Laser throw a wrench in the family dynamic by deciding to contact the sperm downer who is their biological father, Paul. What no one expects is how attached the children become to Paul, or how opposite the reactions of Nic & Jules will be. Jules bonds with Paul while Nic sees him as a danger to the family. What should be a calm and wonderful transition before Joni leaves for college turns into a tumultuous summer as teenage rebellion and marital problems rise to the surface.

If all melodrama were as interesting and well made as The Kids Are All Right I don’t think I’d have the involuntary habit of rolling my eyes when the term melodrama is used. This film is a drama, one that at first glance may seem that the entire gimmick or buzz around the film lies in the fact that it is about a same sex family; however, in the long run The Kids Are All Right doesn’t rely on the fact that Laser & Joni refer to their parents as “Moms” or anything having to do with the sex of their parents, it has to do with a family that has to embrace difficulty, evolution of their family unit and ultimately change they can’t avoid. These are the things we encounter in every day existence with our families, just more beautifully told by Lisa Cholodenko.

While all of the performances in Kids shine, Annette Benning stands out as she always does. Nic is closed off, distracted and afraid of losing her family and Benning plays her as if it were completely natural and unforced. She is a master at what she does. The entire cast is phenomenal as well, folding together in a genuine feeling, contemporary family unit.

I’ve never seen any of Choldenko’s previous work, but I have to say after Kids I am interested in seeing more. This film was handled with such a delicate touch that it makes the lives of Nic & Jules seem so real that it feels like we’re voyeurs looking in on their life. I do think this film deserved the Oscar nominations it received.

Director: Lisa Choldenko

Jules: ...marriage is hard... Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It's a fucking marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you're together for so long, that you just... You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices...

1 comment:

Tiffany Dersam said...

I was so so happy to hear that this movie got a nom. I absolutely loved this movie with all my heart. And you are right, Benning was fantastic.