January 16, 2011
In all awards seasons, there is that one family film that comes up for awards consideration. This year, it is "The Kids are Alright." And yes, like "Kramer vs. Kramer", "Ordinary People" and "American Beauty" before it, it depicts a dysfunctional family, again. Of course, the flawed members of the family make for award-winning angsty moments, but it can be hard to watch.
The family consists of two lesbian mothers, the control freak doctor Nic (Annette Bening) and the luckless stay-in mom Jules (Julianne Moore). They each bore her own child, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), with sperm from the same donor. In a curious move that was unfortunately not discussed in detail, the kids sought out their biological father, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). From there, obviously, cracks begin to appear in their perfectly unconventional family as they get to know Paul better, and he integrates himself into their lives.
The actors were all very good. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are both being cited as Best Actress nominees. They did have their own shining moments. Even if Annette is being given more awards attention, for me I liked the performance of Julianne more. Mark Ruffalo was very natural as the likable "new" dad figure. The way his charismatic character was developed though is disappointing. The actors playing the kids were also good, though they were sulking most of the time (like how most teenagers are portrayed in movies).
I do not know why this movie was nominated in the Golden Globe as a comedy. It is most certainly is NOT one, so it created some false expectations. I must also say though that watching the frank sex scenes (lesbian and otherwise) will not comfortable for everybody. I did not really expect to like it, and yes, it is not exactly likable in a sense, because of the distorted sense of morality being shown.