We had a couple opportunities to see The Kids Are All Right in NYC and didn’t quite make that happen, so we jumped at the chance to see it since it was playing as part of the Provincetown International Film Festival. Even better is that the movie lived up to expectations of the reviews I’ve seen.
Anette Bening and Julianne Moore star as a married couple who have been together for a couple of decades and have an 18-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. They seem to have a pretty decent life. Nic (Bening) is a doctor while Jules (Moore) is trying her hand at yet another new business, this time landscaping design. Their daughter is headed to college in a couple months and their son really wants his sister to call and get information about their dad. Since she’s 18 she can get that information and he is ready to meet his dad.
Dad comes in the form of Mark Ruffalo, in one of his best performances to date. Here is a guy who completely rubs Nic the wrong way–he hasn’t been to college, he’s into the “green” movement and basically has a relaxed way of life. Without intending too, he rocks the family to the core. Why the movie works so well is that it doesn’t dwell on things that really don’t matter–that the couple are lesbians, that the kids were from a sperm donor rather. This is just a family dealing with something that disrupts their normalcy. What’s great is that everything feels like it comes from the most organic and real place. At times that quality makes the picture very difficult to watch as it feels like you’re intruding on private moments.
Bening, Moore and Ruffalo will hopefully be recognized, along with the movie itself, during Awards season later this year. This is such an unexpected treat in the middle of a summer that has presented so many cinematic duds. The Kids Are All Right is a breath of fall in the midst of the dog days of summer.