Sunday, January 02, 2011

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

Although I liked a lot of things about THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, I have to say that ultimately I was very let down by the film. It's weird that the movie is titled after the kids, and the opening scenes are about them, because the film is not at all about the kids, and that type of misdirection doesn't help. But that doesn't bother me as much as the last act.

The first two thirds of the film really hooked me; the writing is great and the characters are very real and complex. It's interesting seeing a film which treats two middle-aged lesbians as normal characters and not sideshow freaks. On the other hand, it's not completely convincing that two such feminine women represent what most lesbian couples are really like. It's been Hollywood-ized to cleanse the palette for mainstream audiences.

The movie really fell apart for me when SPOILER!!! they take the obvious choice of having the more attractive woman suddenly have an affair with a man. I guess there's no way to have an interesting story about gay characters without making one of them go straight? Or were they afraid that two women could not carry a film without a man's presence? In either case, it's an insult to the audience, and even worse, it digs the film into a rut that it just can't get out of. The dialogue suddenly became that of a soap opera. In fact, I wondered if it had been written deliberately tritely to show that lesbian couples go through the same things as straight couples. It doesn't matter, it didn't work for me.

That said, the cast is exceptional. Julianne Moore is great as always, and Marc Ruffalo seems like the part was written for him. The kids are actually underutilized, though.

An interesting film, but not worth all the attention it's getting.
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