Last weekend my nearly eighteen year old daughter and I went to see The Kids Are All Right. It’s the story of two teens, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Lazer (Josh Hutcherson) raised by lesbian moms Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) who decide they want to know more about their biological father Paul (Mark Ruffalo) who had donated sperm to a sperm bank when he was nineteen.
The movie takes place the summer before Joni is about to leave for college. She had always been the good girl, the honors student — and biologically, she is the daughter of perfectionist doctor Nic. Now eighteen, she wants to break away from her moms and assert herself as an adult.
Lazer is younger, fifteen, and looking for more direction. Joni identifies him as an athlete, but he didn’t come across as the typical “jock” type. Both moms are concerned about the amount of time he is spending with his friend Clay, who they consider to be a bad influence. Biologically, he is Jules’ son, and Jules, a budding landscape artist, has struggled to find direction in her own life as well.
Although both moms love both kids there does seem to be an air of competition between them that manifests throught the kids. However, the kids themselves don’t act like “half” siblings and part of the motivation in finding their sperm donor, I suspect is to strengthen their connection to each other.
What is meant to be a meeting to satisfy the kids’ curiosity, turns into Paul’s full fledged involvement in the family’s lives when he spends more time with the kids and hires Jules as a landscaper. The relationship issues between Jules and Nic are brought more into the foreground, as Jules increasingly feels inadequate, and Nic feels left out.
This movie is incredibly acted by everyone involved, and what could’ve easily been an overstated “statement” came across as a story that with slight modifications could happen with almost any family.
A word to the wise — this movie is rated R, and is sexually graphic in places. I wouldn’t take anyone who isn’t old enough to go see this themselves, but overall I enjoyed it.