The Kids Are All Right

Funny, sweet, moving–with the kind of casually-excellent and embodied acting that mutes the occasionally-too-sharp definitions of the dramedic plotline.

I’ll get the churlish out of the way. About half-way through, there’s one of those utterly-tedious establishing shots that clutter so much American film: the outside of the family home, a woman strategically walking her dog through to show us the everyday reality of the neighborhood. You can almost feel the movie’s IQ drop a couple points. And Lisa Cholodenko *does* rely upon an arc familiar to any number of comic melodramas. I found myself gritting my teeth on a couple of occasions, and overall wishing for a bit more of the actors’ counter-intuitive naturalism inflecting the plot.

But I also saw this in a big mall multiplex on a summer Saturday night, with a mostly-packed crowd. This is a film about a long-time lesbian couple, their two kids, and the raffish sperm donor father who re-enters (and massively disrupts) all of their lives. It is frank and open about a variety of desires — yet it is also a sweet film about family values, about the difficulty of living with one another–and the joys that come with such. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Continue reading The Kids Are All Right