The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko



“The kids are all right” is a standard story about the institution of marriage and about its turning points. There is nothing new in it. The same concerns, the same platitudes, the same betrayals and compromises.

What is new – to some extent – is the story about gay people in a marriage. But there’s no surprise in their behaving like all married people. Institutions level us all. Marriage offers the comfort spouses take for granted sooner or later. But this comfort is not – isn’t it funny? – all that comfortable. This comfort gives married people the energy to endure the partner’s limitations and the alpha spouse versus beta spouse frictions.

Good news, good political news is that the kids are all right in gay marriage too. Did anyone expect anything else? I bet they did. But they are all right; they’re no misfits, no different from other children.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, mothers of two, form a middle-class lesbian couple. They are great parents even when they nag the kids. Their marriage is cozy but not perfect; it is actually ridiculously dull and conventional. So conventional that when the sperm donor, a much less conventional Mark Ruffalo, is invited in the family, marriage’s pillars begin to shake.

The cast’s is a delight. Bening, Moore and Ruffalo offer great performances, the young actors follow them closely and so does the rest of the cast. There is nothing special about the movie’s cinematography; image, shots, music, editing are all submitted to the plot. That is not bad but it is not good either. It works.

The movie promotes gay parenting with a twist of reverse psychology on marriage, be it gay or straight. The result is a drama/comedy with a bitter end that can be mistaken with a happy one, and vice versa.

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