Friday, April 8, 2011

The Kids Are All Right

It is not without a touch of glee that I deliver the following statement: fittingly, this movie was all right. Not fantastic, not terrible. Which is a shame, because it had great potential. I can even tell you how I would have done it differently, if only I were a big-time director with a nice budget and sweet skills.

The story is about a family that has two children, lives in the suburbs, and is generally very traditional except for the fact that it is headed by a lesbian couple who each had one kid using the same sperm donor. The couple is played by a spectacular Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. I take my hat off to these two gorgeous and talented middle-aged actresses who really made me feel as though their anxious moms were women I knew. I hope both will continue to get amazing parts in youth-worshipping Hollywood.

Anyway, when Annette and Julianne's older child, a daughter, turns 18, she contacts the sperm donor and all hell breaks loose.

I'm serious. This guy shows up in the story, wins over the kids almost immediately, then practically breaks up the family by seducing one lesbian mom in a series of completely gratuitous sex scenes that I suspect were devised to encourage heterosexual men to like this movie. I would have had him win over one of the moms emotionally only. That would have been harder for the other mom to pin down, harder for her to oppose, but perhaps altogether even more devastating.

I also would have made this movie far less man-hating. I mean, there's a subplot about an affair between the sperm donor dad and one of his coworkers that has no purpose whatsoever other than to make him seem like a tool. And even the son in the family is none too bright; it's the girl who has all the brains.

Now I'm giving away the ending here but it's not that big of a deal because the movie is still worth seeing even if you know this in advance. I wasn't that satisfied with the couple's decision to stay together in the end because frankly, their relationship sucked from the word go. There's a bit near the end where Julianne Moore's character gives a speech culminating in the statement that "marriage is hard," as though that is a reason to stay in one that isn't any good. As someone who is very unmarried myself, I'm certainly not one to judge, but to be honest, all I could think was, "Yeah, if your marriage has no passion or intimacy, I bet it's pretty damn hard."


  1. I really enjoyed this movie and also agree with your observations. If you were a big time movie director - I'd see your films.

  2. Oh, this is all so true! I wasn't sure what was bugging me about this movie, but you're totally right - it's that the dad wins everyone over immediately and the sex scenes were totally random. I was glad the moms stayed together when I saw it but now I'm feeling sad to think they'll just keep on being passive aggressively nasty towards each other for the rest of their lives.