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The Kids Are Alright (2010)

The Kids Are Alright poster.jpg

It’s not an especially new dilemma not to know your real father – a friend of mine did a genealogical survey in Ireland c18 years ago and discovered that more than 20% of legitimate children in the Republic were not born to the head of household (and obviously didn’t know … national incest alert!) And in these days of alternative families and soaring rates of illegitimacy, who knows who anyone is without a DNA test?!  When restless teen son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) of Lesbian moms – control freak doc Nic (Annette Bening) and flaky gardener Jules (Julianne Moore) – goes looking for the sperm donor who gave them their family, he’s under 18 so has to get older sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska) to do the deed. They find Paul (Mark Ruffalo) a genial, bohemian restaurateur who wants more involvement with them.  The underlying tensions in the domestic unit are raised. Issues of parenthood, family life, the role of the unknown father, marital compromise, mismatched unequal spouses, sex with the (non-)ex, teenage experience and growing pains are dealt with expertly and humorously by admirable writer/director Lisa Cholodenko (co-written with Stuart Blumberg). She has made some very smart contemporary comic dramas: High Art and particularly Laurel Canyon. Part of this narrative was based on her own story:  she shares her life with Wendy Melvoin, of the duo Wendy & Lisa who were Prince’s collaborators at the height of his 80s superstardom with the Revolution (they co-wrote Sometimes It Snows in April. Sob). This is spectacularly well cast and performed with not a duff or inauthentic moment. And amongst other things, we find out why Lesbians enjoy watching gay (male) porn … TMI?  A very modern story.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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