The Kids Are All Right

Last Saturday myself and my sister went to see the Kids Are All Right. I shamefully haven’t been to the cinema for ages, but I made a promise to myself to go more this winter. It’s the perfect pasttime on freezing evenings.

The Kids Are All Right has been much hyped and critically acclaimed and rightly so. The movie is directed by Lisa Cholodenko and stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as Nic and Jules respectively. They are a lesbian couple who met in college and have been in a long term relationship ever since. Nic and Jules have two children, played by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, which they conceived by artifical insemination using the same donor in both cases. The two children decide that they want to get in touch with their father and so enters Paul played by Mark Ruffalo, a feckless, charming, college drop out, who has casual commitment free sex with his employee (played by ANTM Cycle 3 runner up Yaya DaCosta) and who donated sperm whilst in college.

Nic is a brisk businesslike woman with a fondness for red wine and Jules is a hippie who has never crystallised her career goals. The dynamic between the two women is great to watch, particularly the scene where they try to explain to their son why they like watching gay male porn. There is much humour in the script as well as pathos. 

The film’s director Lisa Cholodenko is herself a lesbian with a child by artificial insemination and her co-writer Stuart Blumberg was a sperm donor in the past, so there is a strong element of authenticity in the script which shines through. However for me, this film is not so much about the difficulties and obstacles that lesbian couples and their sperm donors face. It is a film about long term relationships whether gay or straight, about parenting teenagers and the challenges therein, and about families whether nuclear or unconventional. The somewhat unconventional relationship of Jules and Nic is in fact very relatable and serves to highlight the similarities and problems that we all face in love.

I loved Jules and Nic so much as a couple that I wished they were real! Julianne Moore has been one of my favourite actresses for a long time and Annette Bening is marvellous too. It’s brilliant to see actresses over forty getting interesting and challenging roles rather than the dross they are usually relegated to.  The Kids Are All Right has a huge heart and a great sense of warmth about it. Highly recommended.

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