Best Picture Nominee Review: The Kids Are All Right

Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo have all at points in their careers been considered great actors.  Bening and Ruffalo are even Oscar nominees here.  With some help from up-and-comers Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson they form the best ensemble of the year in The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right follows a son and daughter (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) of a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) as they try to find their father through sperm donation (Mark Ruffalo).  The film then follows how the dynamic of the family shifts when the father comes into their lives.

The Kids Are All Right is directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon).  Stuart Blumberg is Cholodenko's co-writer for the film.  Cholodenko works wonders for the film (both on the page and behind the camera).  She somehow makes a captivating family drama that is somehow able to pull a few laughs from the audience throughout its duration.  Cholodenko also pulls off the difficult task of not making the core relationship between two lesbians distracting.  The characters seem like any average family member when that is not really the case.  However, there is one more important aspect about Cholodenko's direction.  Some people say that the sign of a great director is that they can get a great performance out of any actor.  If this is the case, Cholodenko has to be one of the best as she is able to get stellar performances out of not only veteran actors but newcomers as well.

This truly is one of the best ensembles in years.  I will start off with the weakest main actor but she is by no means weak in this film (she is actually very good).  Annette Bening does an adequate job of pulling off the more mature parent role.  She is very good in her showy scenes, but, unfortunately, she does not make her more subtle scenes as good as they could be.  It is by no means an Oscar worthy role and would be a travesty if she were to win the Oscar.  Julianne Moore is a far better lead.  She makes a very sympathetic character out of one that does not make very good decisions during the course of the film.  She is also the comedic center of the film and handles that perfectly.  She is at her peak in the forgiveness scene late in the film.  She completely nails it.  Mark Ruffalo puts in a supporting performance worthy of the praise it has received so far.  It looks like it takes no effort on his part to capture the free-spirited personality that is so integral for not only his character but the plot.  Mia Wasikowska once again proves why she is one of the brightest new stars in the business with her best performance to date.  Here she is perfect in giving the audience a neutral character to look to when they need to decide who is right.  Finally, Josh Hutcherson is adequate as the son.  He isn't given any flashy material but is able to do everything the role requires.

Besides some stellar cinematography by Igor Jadue-Lilio there is nothing that stands out behind the camera-wise.  The score by Carter Burwell is interesting at points but nothing more than that.  The editing is good at times (especially during the dramatic scenes) but the film needed some cutting in the beginning and end.

The Kids Are All Right is a great and timely film about how life is like in the 21st century.  This is definitely more of a film of our times than The Social Network and is even better acted than The King's Speech.  Quite simply, it is easily one of the best films of the year.

This film has been nominated for 4 Academy Awards:
-Best Picture
-Best Lead Actress-Annette Bening
-Best Supporting Actor-Mark Ruffalo
-Best Original Screenplay

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