The Kids Are All Right - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Kids Are All Right Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2010
I don't know why this film is labeled a comedy since it has nothing to laugh about. In fact, it is a little drama that wants to make you feel liberal accepting a family of lesbians, but the characters are poorly developed, the conflicts are artificial and clichéd, and the story lacks dramatic impulse.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2014
Annette Bening gives a stunning performance, but it's also a mix of situations and a high level of authenticity and tension that allow for The Kids Are All Right to shine. It is an enjoyable, and ultimately, heartwarming watch.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2013
TKAAR is sort of the most perfect dramedy I've seen on the subject of marriage and family values.

The cast of "modern characters" are all incredibly colorful in their own right but through their interactions with each other become truly authentic. Their rounded/layered characterizations is what really makes the film shine, transcending the politically provoking/gimmicky premise.

It's a great story, that manages to map the sophisticated issues and struggles of each character gracefully without feeling staged whilst delivering a satisfying ending that isn't obnoxiously hollywood.

Also I'd like to add, the film is outright hilarious! Which balances very well with the heavy drama explored through and through.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2010
What to say about The Kids Are All Right?
Some good moments, but couldn't see any sophistication or humour. It's a high concept movie wich only difference is to bring a lesbian couple as the apparently perfect family: the father-provider (Nic), who works hard and always get the bad part (the boring parent), the free spirit, lovely but bored housewife (Jules), the beautiful and nice kids. It's interesting how the "bio-dad" figure is brought to the story and all its consequences, but it could've been better explored and not fall into common sense.

All the structure family is about to ruin with Paul. He's a cool guy and is doing "his" role quite well being present and giving confidence to both Laser and Joni. In any moment they wonder what all that means, except for Nic. They only see themselves as a (close) family again when Paul fucks up. And when that happens, all the fault is put over him. Joni says she just wished that he could've been better. Wouldn't it be more sensate and logical to expect that Jules, her mother, could've been better and not him? Jules has all excuses (marriage is hard, she didn't feel appreciate) and in the end is nothing but the common "it's all men's fault" (easy sex, immaturity, the family destroyer).

Paul basically says Jules she's talented and agrees with all she does and that is enough to make her feel appreciated. Ok, it can happen, but we could understand it if it was with a woman. Lesbians don't have such fantasies. Bisexual women do. Is human sexuality complicated? Oh, please! Not to mention the typical (and tiresome) "male-wild" sex scenes.

Super Reviewer
November 2, 2010
A really outstanding drama. Quirky and funny without ever, ever being irritating, a string of perfect performances, perfectly cast, and notably the young stars live up to the Indie icons surrounding them. A really thought provoking, moving and funny film, simultaneously wryly cynical and honestly heartfelt, devoid of cynicism.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2012
This may well be the performance of Julianne Moore's career, in which we see her roll several of her previous types into an incredible character who's going through some form of mid-life crisis, confused in her sexuality and frustrated in her marriage (to a real Type A played well by Annette Bening) while trying to raise their two overly curious teenagers. As the low-maintenance parent, Moore shines, needing to keep control but not wanting her partner to take over in their unwitting good-cop, bad-cop dynamic. Enter Mark Ruffalo, as the sperm donor who fathered the two children, and all the characters begin to feel threatened in different ways, questioning their relationships and roles. It's a bit sappy by times, I admit, but this is a good film made much better by the quality of its actors, and it's an unconventional story that's consistently surprising and enduring in its simplicity and its true-to-life qualities.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2011
Paul: Just making an observation. 
Nic: Yeah? Well I need your observations like I need a dick in my ass! 

"Nic and Jules had the perfect family, until they met the man who made it all possible."

My favorite type of humor is awkward humor and this is awkward humor at its finest. The first call where the kid is talking to the sperm father is perfect. Throughout the film, the awkwardness stays at a high level. The best thing about how the humor is approached is that they don't try to hard to make us laugh. They know that this situation is funny in itself and they should just let it play out and see what happens. If they had tried too hard, it just wouldn't have been the great movie it is. 

Two kids have been raised by lesbian parents. They get curious as to the whereabouts of their sperm donor father and end up tracking him down. They meet him in secret, but once their mothers learn of it, they bring him into the family. He couldn't be happier to be spending time with his two "children." Events lead to places where they shouldn't go and things with the father and the family don't end on the highest note. 

The acting is phenomenal in The Kids Are All Right. Julianne Moore and Annette Benning play the lesbian couple and give terrific performances. Mark Ruffalo plays the father and he gives his usual subtle and low energy performance. The awkwardness that comes from these three characters is priceless. Their first meeting is my favorite scene of the whole film and really implements everything that is weird about their new found relationship.

In the end it turns out to be a pretty touching drama, to go along with all the laughs. Now that I've seen it more than once, I don't like it as much as the first time. The first time around I would have given it five stars, but now I'm a little more reserved in my praise for it. I still think it's one terrific movie and infinitely better than the standard gay family dramas.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2011
I loved it. It has a good pace, no needless parts and well balanced characters. The accent was on the right things, not on the fact that they're a lesbian couple. I liked how it was funny without being over the top.
It's a movie about family, growing up and growing apart, but in the end knowing what's important and sticking together.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ September 16, 2011
I don't get the hype about this movie; it certainly makes a good point but is only mediocre, and I think, poorly written. "Kids" promotes a worthwhile message: Lesbian/Gay couples and families have the same arguments, insecurities, and problems as straight ones. Here's another lesson: Don't go looking for the long lost "sperm donor," you'll always be disappointed in the end. It opens a proverbial can of worms better left unopened. If you have a loving family, that's enough, leave it alone.

None of the adult characters are sympathetic, and the teenagers only mildly so. I'm also offended by the choice of Mark Ruffalo (doofus) representing the male of the species. Among other things, he represents the organic/green faction, and I loved it when Annette Benning's character (Nic) lashes out at those kooks.

This film violates its own internal logic, cheapening the overall effect. Julianne Moore's character (Jules) states that she doesn't like lesbian porn because it is acted by straight women and thus doesn't ring true. However, that's exactly how this movie is constructed. I agree with the critic who points out that this film says one thing and shows another. Also, Moore hops from Benning's bed to Ruffalo's. Is that consistent or simply a melodramatic device? Everyone's too proud of how unorthodox they are. All in all, the movie has heart but too many flaws to be considered award-worthy.
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 2011
Claiming to be very "adult and mature", the film manages to yank your chain, being far too precious and surprisingly conventional for it's own good.

It seems that the message is that marriage is hard - and to that extent the film does an adequate job of conveying a certain point in a relationship where it's all comfy and old hat, yet you start doing things by habit and rote instead of actually seeing or hearing what your partner has to say. This could be powerful stuff, but here comes off very ham fisted and over the top, to the point of borderline melodrama.

Add to this that the film has a gimmick, which for better or worse should be the focal point of the film instead of derailing it. The couple in question is a pair of lesbians, nicely portrayed by Annette Bening (dikey short hair and all) and Julianne Moore (at her 60's free spirit best). One could suppose that the message here is that lesbians are just like other people - their relationship has the same trials and tribulations, etc., but... the film steps way out of bounds in an effort to show that normalcy.

The film does a disservice by characterizing Bening as the stable, bring home the bacon, male part of the relationship - while Moore is the ditzy, artistic female - unable to focus on any one thing for an extended period, and is thus a failure at all her endeavors. The film then further missteps by having Moore, who is feeling taken for granted and not given the continued "nurturing" she apparently needs, hop into the sack with a male who shows her attention. WFT!!!! Talk about sending mixed messages!

Around this there is a sincere story (though a bit saccerine) about the couple's two children seeking their sperm donor "father". It all wraps up with a nice bow - as the film reminds us "the kids are all right". They may well be, but I couldn't help but feel that this is the type of film where you could see all the gears turning - and yet the message, at least in my mind, ended up not being what I believe the script intended - far from being a real look at a lesbian couple, I felt this contrived and almost surreal. As far as a tome to feminism - nope, missed the boat there as well - especially when showing Moore's weak willed fall for the first person that showed her any attention.

Too smooth in places, and yet a convoluted mess of hackneyed cliche in others, I felt like I was being preached at, yet couldn't help but think that this was intended as some grand gesture, but ended up signifying nothing at all.
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2011
I was expecting to like this movie alot more than I did. The characters were all ultimately likable, and I thought the ride along the way was generally pretty entertaining. I think my main problem was that this movie didn't end up where I thought it was taking us. AND, I have to admit..I am not a Julianne Moore fan. BUT, the movie was well done.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2011
This part comedy- part drama flick, revolving around the domestic tensions in a lesbian household, can pass as a decently enjoyable one-time-watch. But it's definitely not anywhere nearly worth the rave reviews it got; just another Indie movie that pretends to have more cards up its sleeve than it actually has.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2010
Expected to like this more than I did - I guess because it had such good reviews. It is actually quite a good movie and the cast are perfect, but it's a little slower than I would have thought and didn't quite hold my attention all the way through,
Little things about it bothered me too - it was nice how they portrayed the lesbian couple, but I didn't get the whole watching male porn thing and then the discretion on the part of one of the couple. That to me undermined their relationship a little.
Aside from that, nicely done, slow but well made film with believable cast, and a storyline that hasn't been done to death. Worth a look!
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2011
Not as good as I expected and the story run out of places to go. It was 'all right' and only funny at times.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2011
This movie was good, but too weird and intense for me to watch again. The plot is great, it had interesting moments and points that we can relate in life. The characters are some of the biggest assholes you will ever meet and you will probabaly hate them, but the acting makes it so much more believable. It shouldn't be called a comedy, because its not that funny. Overall, I cant see how it got a Best Picture nomination, but I can see the actor nominations and plot nomination.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2011
Julianne Moore always blows me away, and her character work in this is top notch. Why she wasn't even nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. Julianne makes herself round-shouldered and doesn't even have her legs shaven. Quite a different character than what she's known for which is why I must give her a nod for her willingness to do characters regardless of what she is known for playing.
The film revolves around the relationship of two "Moms" as said by Joni, the daughter of Nic(Anete Bening) and her partner Jules portrayed by Julianne Moore. Their relationship is put in jeopardy when Joni is asked by her younger brother Laser to find their biological father in Southern California.
Mark Ruffalo turns in a fine performance as well as the "bio-dad" of both kids named Paul who is a self made restaurateur living the life of a confirmed bachelor living to his own standards.
Jules is drawn to Paul as well which creates a bit of tension in the family, but actually seems to make things stronger in the weakest places.
So bottom line. If you appreciate the work of Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, give this one a shot.
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2011
I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. I enjoyed certain scenes a lot a lot, but it never completely gelled for me as a full product. I just never believed that this family had huge problems and eventually kind of sort of resolved them.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2011
A really forgettable, super over-rated Hollywood-ized film concerning two mothers (Annette Benning, Julianne Moore) who start to encounter trouble with their children after the two of them (Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska) seek out who their sperm-donor daddy (Mark Ruffalo) is, and what he's up to nowadays. Instead of a realistic, straight-forward look at how the gay community is dealing with parenting nowadays, this movie slowly but surely drifts into "Lifetime" movie of the week territory. It's a shame so much talent and good acting (especially Benning) is wasted on a script that somehow forgets about the kids in this movie, and in turn focuses in on these selfish and unlikable mothers. You can tell director Lisa Cholodenko is trying very hard to manipulate her audience into loving this family and sympathizing with the "growing pains" these two mothers have to deal with, but when you make your characters this unlikeable, throw in a couple of just terribly written scenes (a scene between Hutcherson and his friend with a stray dog which is just cringe-worthy), and expect us to feel all warm inside by the end of it - you're kidding yourself. It makes up for a lot of its faults at its conclusion in which the actors do their best to make something of this mostly train-wreck of a movie, but sadly it's to no avail.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2010
Soaring With Originality! The Kids Are All Right proves that a good story is still hard to come by in film these days, but just how well it can still be done. A story of a lesbian donor family never once been portrayed to feel this real. True emotion, real acting, believable situations, and a premise that everyone can enjoy. Not only is this film one of the best of this year, it may just be worthy of best picture. Even the smallest things you try to pull out of this film, you can't, it's too good of a film to hate on. Not the absolute best of the year, but I must say that it is the most original. What a beautiful film!
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2010
The definition of family. This film is proof that there are many ways to define that word, and the one shown here is neither right, wrong, the best. It just is. Although it could have been, this is not some kind of preachy message film with an agenda. And it might be all for the best as a result. This is nothing more than a sweet, funny, and very real look at the times a modern family is going through...It just so happens to be a family with two parents (Bening and Moore), two kids (Wasikowska and Hutcherson), and the sperm donor (Ruffalo) who provided the goods to each parent.

I really liked this film. It's very well done, and quite relevant. I think I most like the fact that it's not trying to be political or preachy, even though it could have. The performances are dynamite, and all five of the above mentioned people are wonderful. Ruffalo may be the least of them (a tad underwhelming), but he's still pretty good. I liked how all of the chracters are pretty well rounded, and none of them are made to be more sympathetic than the others.

With some very sharp and perceptive writing, and some satisfactory direction, this film proves to be a wonderful look at family dynamics and making relationships work. It's not a screwball comedy, which is how the trailer sort of makes it seem, but it's not heavy handed or ponderous, either. It strieks a good balance between melodrama and sappiness.

Give this one a shot. It's a charming film that entertains and also gives you more than just a situation that could have been reduced to pure stunt-making.
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