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:
- 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.
- 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