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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"The Kids Are All Right", modern family issues?

The Kids Are All Right

Familiar issues, wether if they are between the parents or/and the kids, are not an original topic to deal with in cinema. But "The Kids Are All Right" aims to be a "turn of the screw" on the traditional approach on family, as director Lisa Chodolenko presents us a lesbian couple, that start facing problems when the two kids they have raised met their biological father.

My question would be: that's a modern approach on family or just an approach to a modern family? Because in my opinion we are in front of the second case. For the good and the bad.

On the good side, the acting. Having Julianne Moore (Jules), Annette Bening (Nic) and Mark Ruffalo (Paul) makes the work easier for sure, but still, the actors seem credible and human in their behaviours, something that is remarkable considering the material, and the tone of the film. Special mention to Joni's character, played flawlessly by Mia Wasikowska. Besides the cast, with a serious question mark close to the end, the film doesn't want to present a drama, an apology of lesbianism in front of traditional family, or vice versa. To me, is basically a story about communication and aging issues in different periods of life, from teenage years to a couple that has had a long marriage and faces an emotional turmoil.

On the not so good side, the tone. I said it is nice to see a film talking about serious issues without taking itself so seriously, but the mixture between comedy and drama sometimes crosses a thin line, making some scenes a bit ridiculous. This happens quite a lot, in particular between Nic and Jules. It might have something to do with the fact the two characters are a bit charicatureque in their opposing roles, but in a film that wants to be realistic, and that achieves some very refreshing naturality on dialogues and dynamics of the characters, it feels odd. And second, and much worse, is the conscious decission of the director, taking an unexpected and unnecessary side eliminating the masculine characters of her story (Paul and Laser), when they both have their own conflicts that have been showed to us before. Having the impression it was done on purpose, I have to say that shows a pretty conservative take on family, replacing the traditional male-female patronage for a female-female one. But with the same message (you, outsider, against us, family) as always.

Could have been a lot more, but still a fresh and entertaining film.

SCORE: 6,25/10

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