Woohoo! Another great film from 2010! It became so rare that I feel like celebrating every time I find one. "The Kids are Alright" was a beautiful, well-acted and unique family drama that was entertaining from beginning to end. Here is why it was added to my "Best of" list.
1. It wasn't what I expected at all - I'm not really sure what I was expecting. Originally, I though it was a lesbian drama, then it was nominated as a "comedy" for the Golden Globes so I had no idea what I was in for. Luckily, it was neither. It was a family drama (with some comedic moments) about the obstacles that couples face when trying to raise kids and maintain a healthy relationship. It was also a reminder that the unconventional family has now become "normal". It has a simple message that "life is complicated" and that "people make mistakes" without being cheesy or preachy.
2. The story - It is a story that hasn't been told before. The catalyst for the plot is that our couple used donated sperm to start their family. The kids are now practically adults and find their "father". He decides that he wants to be part of these kids lives which creates an entirely new family dynamic (some other surprising things happen as well - but I don't want to ruin it). It was original, yet simple.
3. The acting - Annette Benning killed it. Seriously, her role was a very difficult one - a borderline alcoholic who is somewhat controlling and uptight, yet her world is turned upside down- so in order for the film to work we must sympathize with her (which I did - I totally felt her pain). Julianne Moore also did a great job at a very different role for her (sort of a flaky and misguided character). Mark Ruffalo is always lovable and I really think Josh Hutcherson is a great, young up and coming actor (he was the super adorable kid in Bridge to Terabithea now a mature young adult choosing complicated material - I am excited to see where his career takes him). All of the actors played their roles with heart and subtlety - they all felt like "real" people. Oscar nominations all around!!!