“Kids Are All Right” profiles a quirky family

Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as lesbian partners

| Aug 4, 2010

<cutline>Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in <em>The Kids Are All Right</em></cutline>
The Kids Are All Right is a 2010 comedy about an unconventional family and not to be confused with the 1979 documentary about the rock band The Who, which has a different spelling in its title anyway.

This very good and laugh-out-loud film stars Julianne Moore as Jules, Annette Bening as Nic, and Mark Ruffalo as Paul, and their growing relationships with each other get very complicated, to say the least.

You see, Jules and Nic are lesbians who have been happy together for a very long time. In fact, more than 18 years ago they decided to have a family, and they bought sperm from a sperm bank, with which one of them conceived and gave birth to a daughter and the other gave birth to a son, both from the same sperm donor.

Nic is a doctor and is the more — shall we say — “organized” one in the family, and she keeps pressuring the daughter, Joni, who is 18 and recently finished high school, to write her thank-you notes.

Jules is the free spirit in the family, has recently started her own landscape-design business, and as Nic tells her, “If it was up to you, our kids wouldn’t even write thank-you notes.”

Their son, Laser, is 15, and he convinces his sister Joni to contact the sperm bank and track down their biological father, who is Paul, who donated his sperm between 1991 and 1993 when he was 19.

Paul has an organic co-op farm and a restaurant, and he agrees to meet with Joni and Laser. Afterwards, Joni tells Laser that she thinks that Paul is weird, just because he donated sperm, but as Paul later explains, he donated sperm because he thought it would be more fun than donating blood.

The kids tell their moms about meeting Paul, and Nic insists that they aren’t to see him again until she and Jules meet him.

Paul is invited to dinner at their house so that they all can become acquainted, the women recognize their kids’ facial expressions in Paul’s own expressions, but then what was already a complicated relationship becomes even more complicated when Paul hires Jules to landscape the backyard of his house.

The Kids Are All Right is a wonderful film, and its joy lies more in the journey than in its destination.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”  

culberson-thumbnail-2“Hotshots” is a weekly movie review by Dan Culberson available on KGNU Community Radio (88.5 FM in Boulder and 1390 AM in Denver, on Filmchannel1, and on Boulder Reporter. Culberson has been reviewing films since 1972 for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.