Amore

So I just finished watching a movie from 2010 called ‘The Kids Are All Right’. Some of you may have heard of it, others maybe not. Let’s just say that if you’re a homophobic twonk you’re not going to want anything to do with this film. In that case; good riddance.  Bye!

It’s important to note that the title of the film is ‘The Kids Are All Right’ as opposed to‘The Kids Are Alright’. It changes the meaning quite drastically, and also if you try to obtain ‘The Kids Are Alright’ you’ll get a 1979 documentary about the band ‘The Who’. Needless to say, 5 minutes in I was very confused.

It is my personal opinion that this film falls under the category of “quirky liberal comedy”. It’s very quirky, it’s very very liberal, and it’s kinda sorta funny sometimes.

Synopsis as follows:

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play lesbian parents raising two children they have conceived using Mark Ruffalo’s donor sperm. One day the children decide to contact their biological father for the first time and introduce him to their little family. This situation begins to create problems and fracture the family in more ways than one.

I don’t know what message the filmmakers were trying to send with this film, all I can tell you is what I think it’s about:

Firstly and obviously, sex is a big part of this movie. Sexual orientation, sexual activity, and the consequences of these play a big role in driving the plot forward. Never-the-less, what the film appears to talk about is the distinction between sex and love. Despite the various sexual activity that people choose to engage in, what matters overall is the feelings and bonds the characters have with each other. A homosexual family can be just as dysfunctional as a heterosexual family, and vice versa.

Sexuality and orientation is not the driving force in the characters actions, nor does it act as a barrier to save them from their own mistakes. It is ultimately how the characters feel about each other and about life itself that makes them do what they do. I think it’s an important message in a day and age when a lot of people base their notions of morality on what people do with their extremities. If we instead judge people based on what they do on an emotional and social level we might be less divided as a society. Whether someone wants to have sex with someone else isn’t the issue, what matters is who and what they care about.

Sorry for going off on a tangent, back to the film:

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore give great performances that are stripped down in every sense of the word. Makeup-less and raw, they show a true level of self acceptance that one would come to expect from a proudly lesbian couple. Mark Ruffalo seems a bit stoic and doesn’t quite connect in the way i would have liked. His initiation into this alternative world seems a bit too smooth to be believed, but I went with it in the end. Both the children do a good job and manage to make replacement terms like ‘Mom’s” instead of “Mom and Dad” seem natural to their character’s vocabulary.

I have two gripes about the film, one big and one small:

  1. It isn’t that funny. I simply didn’t laugh the way a “comedy” should make me laugh. There was a certain amount of absurdist humour, but with the nature of the premise it seems to be a given.
  2. I’ve been bullied, I’ve been in fights. It doesn’t happen like this:

But all that aside, the film is one i certainly recommend. I shan’t rave on anymore about my own analysis, instead I’ll simply end by echoing wiser words:

“Homosexuality isn’t just a form of sex, it’s a form of love and it deserves our respect for that reason.”

– Christopher Hitchens

Final Score:

7.5/10

“Good”

Rant Over!

6 thoughts on “Amore

  1. Wow, I’m very surprised that you actually watched this film seeing as you seemed so dis-interested when it was first released. But I’m glad you liked it. Tis a good film. Mainly because of Annette Bening, she was brilliant as always.

  2. When me and Sheri were getting excited to watch it you wanted to hear nothing of it. Don’t you remember? It was at Sheri’s house. Or maybe I had just watched it and was telling Sheri about it and we were getting all excited, but you were just .. not interested. No?

  3. Pingback: A Crichtoning thought « Cinema Rant

  4. I agree with some of your points on what you think this film is about…However strangely because of your main ‘point’ (that homosexual and hetrosexual people are no different except for their sexual preferences) I really didn’t pay any extra attention to the fact that the film centres around the homosexual couple. Because like you say – it shows that the family is no different than others – I never really thought about the homosexual element too much. It’s not as though the film explored them being shunned by society in any way – in fact that aspect was not focused on whatsoever. I think that’s where the film really shines – Often films with homosexual content are made purely to explore homosexuality (hence the dedicated ‘homosexual’ section I’ve often seen at JB-HI FI), whereas in this case it became a film that was accessible to a broader audience. 

    It’s down to interpretation but ‘You can’t have it all’, is the other main message I received from this film. The family has consistently stuck by each other throughout the years, whereas Mark Ruffalo’s character ‘Paul’, though not specifically refereed to, seems to have primarily enjoyed short term, no-strings-attached relationships since puberty. He is a free spirit – the complete opposite to Annette Bening’s character, ‘Nic’. Hence, not surprisingly, it is Nic who tells Paul “If you want a family so much, go out and make one of your own!”. This line really sold the film for me – Basically explaining that you don’t just ‘have’ a family – you ‘make’ one. It takes an unexplainable level of commitment, sacrifice and compromise – all of which Paul has given none of. He expected to get the best of both worlds, but we see from exploring both worlds, that it’s either one or the other. You can’t have both. Nic & Jules remain faithful to one another, but one slip up and disaster ensues within a family. If Paul slips us, there’s next to no consequences. I feel that it’s a message not too often explored – You can’t just become part of a family in a few weeks – it takes years and years of hard work. And in the end that’s what really keeps the family (despite it’s daily dysfunctions) so strong that not matter what happens, the kids will be alright. An issue that is nearly always targeted towards women (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/), it was refreshing to see this subject matter tackled with a male, expressing that not only women deal with choosing between independence and a family.

    Hehe just my 5 cents worth. Cause I figure it’s worth so much more than your 2 cents.

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