The Kids Are All Right
High Art director Lisa Cholodenko has made one of the funniest films of the year by taking aspects of her own life — most notably the use of a sperm donor to father a child — and turning it into a comedy of social dilemmas. Woody Allen himself no longer echoes the heyday of Woody Allen as well as Cholodenko does here.
Cholodenko eases the audience into the film by letting us hang out with the central lesbian couple, breadwinner physician Nic (Annette Benning) and her dislocated partner Jules (Julianne Moore), as well as their two kids Joni (Mia Waskiowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). When 15-year-old Laser decides to track down his sperm donor father, their world is turned upside down by the arrival of loveable rogue Paul. At this point Cholodenko ups the stakes by resurrecting Mark Ruffalo’s reputation as an actor of note. Paul is a co-op farmer and restaurant owner who thinks nothing of breaking girls’ hearts and doing his own thing. Jules, seeing echoes of her children in him, is immediately seduced by his charms, and cad Paul can’t help himself. Cue social mores.
Cholodenko’s film is brilliant witty, but also notable for the way that Cholodenko deals with a character that has sexual partners of both genders without that becoming the main issue. An all too rare example of a funny, heart warming and insightful adult American comedy.
Selected release, from Fri 29 Oct.