I was child-free this weekend, so after watching Spain’s gorgeous overtime goal against the Netherlands in the World Cup, I wandered around the corner to the Village 7 to see Lisa Cholodenko’s extraordinarily delightful film The Kids Are All Right. Though the movie opened in just five markets at seven theatres, it yielded the highest box office gross per screen for all of 2010. If it’s playing near you and you haven’t seen it, go. (If it’s not playing near you – request it!) The Kids Are All Right is a pitch perfect portrait of motherhood, marriage and modern life.
Cholodenko’s script is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking and the movie’s stars – Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo – give some of the most incredibly rich, nuanced, smart and joyful performances I’ve ever seen. What is perhaps even more impressive, though, are the realistic and relaxed portrayals of the high-school aged children in the film. 20-year-old Mia Wasikowska and 17-year-old Josh Hutcherson effortlessly play all the dynamics of teenagers from youthful innocence to bratty self-absorbtion topped off with a dash of angst.
It’s impossible to write about The Kids Are All Right without acknowledging that, yes, it is a story about a lesbian couple raising children, and it touches on several of the issues we’ve covered lately here at Strollerderby. The nuclear family at the heart of the film is very strong, reflecting the notion that lesbians raise happy, successful children. But those children inevitably wonder who their moms’s (as they say in the film) sperm donor was, eventually seeking him out and welcoming him into their family in such a way that creates a surprising plot. No spoiler alerts here! I want you to go see the film for yourself.
The gals at LilSugar do too. Here are their 5 Reasons Why Every Mom Should See The Kids Are All Right. For those of you who might be worried this is a political film pushing the gay agenda, it’s not. It does portray gay characters in a positive light – and as normal, contributing members of mainstream society – but that’s exactly what Cholodenko set out to do. In a personal essay for Harper’s Bazaar, she writes:
From the inception, I wanted The Kids Are All Right to be a mainstream movie about a gay family that was irreverent, funny, heartbreaking, and true. I had no political agenda. But there is a core value I wanted to illuminate: No matter what kind of family you have — straight, gay, married, single parent, separated, no kids, two kids, 20 kids, whatever — we all go through the human comedy. But if the bonds are strong enough and the desire is there, you can get to the other side, still together and still a family.
Here’s the trailer from Hollywood.com. Enjoy!