In another installment of keeping my pre-Oscar resolution, I recently saw The Kids Are Alright, a movie about a lesbian couple (played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) whose two children decide to meet their biological father (a.k.a. the sperm donor, played by Mark Ruffalo) and the problems that unravel after this. (While the movie sort of makes it look like everything goes down because of the super-chill Mark Ruffalo’s character, it is obvious that this is merely a screenplay shortcut, which shows how his appearance triggered the already existing deeper problems.)
My two cents are that I enjoyed the film, for many reasons: freshness of the subject, psychological issues, great actors’ performances (my personal favorite was Mia Wasikowska, who played the daughter), and the wit of the movie (my favorite: Julianne Moore’s character saying “Oh, hello!” to Mark Ruffalo’s … you-know-what). Being relatively uneducated on the subject of same-sex relationships, my main takeaway was that homosexual couples have somewhat surprisingly identical problems to those of heterosexual couples. Totally deserved Oscar nomination by Annette Bening – I did think her facial expression after she finds out that her life partner is cheating on her was brilliant. I don’t think Mark Ruffalo will win the Oscar he is nominated for though – not that I didn’t like him, it’s just he’s up against actors who gave somewhat more fundamental performances.
A bit of humorous criticism: I’m not exactly sure what the costume and makeup directors were trying to say by making not only Annette Bening and Julianne Moore but also their daughter appear in baggy monotonous clothes with no makeup throughout the entire movie. Is that supposed to show how being a lesbian (or even growing up in a lesbian household) tires you out? I get that they were trying to show a “normal”, non-glamorous family, but compared to all the other movies where everybody looks super-cute, it gives a somewhat distorted impression.
Anyway, kudos to the movie; it is definitely worth seeing. As for the Oscars, The King’s Speech still looks like the most likely candidate to win the Best Picture award among the nominated films I’ve seen so far.