Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian calls Lisa Cholodenko’s new film The Kids Are All Right ‘a witty portrait of postmodern family life in which script, casting, direction and location all just float together without any apparent effort at all’. And Time Out, too, focused on its ‘warm, wise humour’.
And, to be fair, there is much to recommend it. The performances are great, in particular Annette Bening as Nic. And I liked the sympathetic but realistic portrayal of a long-term relationship. Although I’m not sure why Julianne Moore’s character, Jules, chose to have an affaire with a man rather than another woman? It was just too neat, unrealistic and (surely?) plain old insulting.
However, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that the mainstream press are rushing to praise it more to show off their liberal credentials than for any inherent value. I really don’t want to knock The Kids Are All Right too much. I’m sure it’ll help reduce the explaining those who’ve gone down the donor sperm route have to give their kids. And help reduce any pressure the children themselves feel, which can only be a good thing. Certainly I hope it’s a cause, as well as an effect, of things moving on since a friend, brought up by his mother and her partner in the 70s, was very careful to hide his home life from people at school.
But, I still felt the end result was unsatisfyingly lite. And found the supposed humour of the scenes with the Mexican gardener (Joaquín Garrido) offensive. What were they doing in a film claiming to wear its PC heart on its sleeve? (Read Daisy Hernandez at racialicious for an excellent analysis on the film’s racial stereotypes.)
So probably worth a look if you’re on a flight, and I won’t be at all surprised if it picks up an Oscar (see above re: liberal credentials) but I had some serious reservations.