Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

The Film: The Kids Are Alright

The Actors: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowski, etc, etc.

The Dealio: Jules and Nic are a longtime suburban couple in an upper-middle class California neighborhood. Nic is an OB/GYN and Jules drifts from almost interest to almost interest with the avid clinginess of someone desperately trying to justify having been a stay-at-home mom for more years than she is entirely comfortable with. Nic, too, is becoming short-tempered about what she sees as Jules' flightiness - especially with regard to the myriad opportunities in which they have both invested time and talent..not to mention moolah. None of which have prospered. Their two children- via a sperm donor (Ruffalo's restauranteur/organic farmer/general sleeparound chap, Paul)- are getting to an age- mid to late teens- where they are curious about the person who is their biological father. And decide that they want to, at the very least, meet him. Predictably, 'the moms' are aghast at the possibility that this person who so conveniently dropped in and out of their lives twice, and to good, if impersonal effect so long, long ago, might actually become an important part of their children's lives. What would this mean to them? How would this affect their family? And, in the end, how would each cope with the inevitable changes this meeting would bring?

The Grading Session: 4.19 pengies out of 5. Although 95% of this tale was dead-on accurate, it was a bit irksome to me that it was felt to be necessary to have one of the moms be sexually attracted to Paul. (Oh, come on. I am not plot-spoiling: they showed some sequences about this in the trailer). No doubt this was felt to be a valid plot line, given that, in many marriages, there is an outside force that bursts upon the scene, first tempting, and then threatening. But it struck me as the one 'off' note in the otherwise entirely engaging and well-wrought film.

Lessons Learned: Well, natch this one: Laser is a boy's name. Who knew? Next up? Would never go to Bening's Nic. For an OB/GYN- who must be on-call virtually 100% of the time- she drinks entirely too much to be able to answer a page and go in to work. Lastly: in every relationship where much is invested, the work required in order to keep the relationship afloat requires a daily recommitment and max effort. Everything else about the relationship is simply detail.

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