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|The Kids Are All Right|
dir Lisa Cholodenko
scr Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
prd Gary Gilbert, Philippe Hellmann, Jordan Horowitz, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg
with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Yaya DaCosta, Kunal Sharma, Eddie Hassell, Zosia Mamet, Joaquin Garrido, Rebecca Lawrence, James MacDonald
release US 9.Jul.10, UK 29.Oct.10
10/US Focus 1h46
Give us a hug: Bening and Moore
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
BERLIN FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Five of this year's best screen characters appear in this comedy-drama about a relatively ordinary family facing some unusual challenges. And while the premise seems extremely offbeat, it's actually beside the point.
Nic and Jules (Bening and Moore) have been a couple for more than 20 years, and life is pretty matter-of-fact for them and their two kids, 18-year-old Joni (Wasikowska) and 15-year-old Laser (Hutcherson). Since Joni is now of age, Laser talks her into contacting their mothers' sperm bank so they can meet their biological father. He turns out to be restaurant owner Paul (Ruffalo), a cool guy who shakes their life up in ways none of them could expect. The big question is whether they can ever be the same again.
Right from the start, director-cowriter Cholodenko astutely captures the everyday reality of this family, with the tensions and underlying security that come with spending so many years together. Bening and Moore dive in with astoundingly unselfconscious performances to create a believable long-term couple with a relaxed understanding of each others' strengths and weaknesses. And Wasikowska and Hutcherson are just as honest and revealing. Their relationships are complex and detailed; we really get a sense of their history. Into this, Ruffalo's superbly well-played interloper feels both deeply intriguing and somewhat threatening.
Together these characters have such naturally comical interaction that we are constantly laughing at the script's clever dialog and the astuteness with which it catches the truth about family relationships. Nagging doubts and expectations sit right under the surface, constantly threatening to shake this family's tight bond, such as Nic constantly noting Jules' frequent shifts of career and Joni preparing to leave for university.
The film is a bundle of warmth and awkwardness, with a few painful moments that are sharply portrayed with delicate understatement by Cholodenko and her cast. What emerges strongly is that these two women love each other deeply and are trying to hold their family together even when things are shaken to the core. In this sense, the fact that they're both women is refreshingly irrelevant. Although the fact that Bening and Moore deliver two of the year's best performances isn't.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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