The Kids Are All Right is the second of this year’s three movies dealing with sperm donations (sandwiched between The Back-Up Plan and The Switch) and is probably the best of the three, though I will admit I’m basing my opinions of the other two solely on their trailers. But even without the others to make it look good in comparison, The Kids Are All Right would be a movie worth seeing.
I saw the movie with my friends Brodie and Caroline, and afterwards, we spent time discussing it, so some of the ideas in this review originally came from them—I will do my best to give them credit. (For example, it was Brodie who pointed out the trend of sperm donor movies).
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a lesbian couple who had two kids, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) using the same sperm donor. At the request of her brother, Joni tracks down the donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), and the movie depicts his entrance into the family’s lives. Paul’s presence causes tension both between Joni and her mothers and within Nic and Jules’s own relationship.
The acting in The Kids Are All Right is spot-on. Bening and Moore do an excellent job making their characters’ relationship believable and natural. As Caroline pointed out, they manage to get the audience caring about the couple quickly, so that when things start to become strained, we care. Ruffalo plays Paul with such charm, winning the audience over the same way Paul wins over the kids. I will not make a pun about Wasikowska’s and Hutcherson’s performances. Instead, I will tell you that they were fine.
One of the things I love about watching less mainstream movies like The Kids Are All Right is that I never know where they’re headed; one of the things I dislike is that they often don’t wrap up enough at the end. That was one of my few complaints with The Kids Are All Right, though I won’t tell you what I wanted to know more about because of spoilers. Due to that and the few spots where it lost my full attention, The Kids Are All Right gets a 4/5. But, as Caroline said to me yesterday, “The more I think about The Kids Are All Right, the more I like it.” Maybe if I had waited a little longer to write this review, it would have gotten a five.