Woah, 2 in theater’s in one week? Yeah, I’m a baller like that. So last week, I saw a notice on Boston.com’s Love Letter’s blog about a screening of The Kids Are All Right, a new movie with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska. Hosted by Meredith Goldstein, the blog’s author, the screening was held at Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge—and it was totally free. Free is my favorite. Of course I got my name of the list (along with my friend and coworker Ciri) and we headed off to Cambridge for a delightful Thursday night!
This movie was already on my radar before I found out about the screening for its Oscar potential (more on that below), and this was my first time at the Kendall Square Cinema. Here’s what I thought:
The Setting: The Kendall Square Cinema is a great place to see a movie. It’s easy to get to and it has an attached garage. With a validated ticket from the theater, parking is $3 for 4 hours, plenty of time to see the movie and get a drink nearby (which we did, with the Love Letter’s after party at Flat Top Johnny’s). The theater plays an eclectic mix of independent films, foreign language cinema, restored classics and documentaries. And the popcorn was really good. AND Ciri spotted Stephen King in the lobby while buying popcorn. A celeb sighting and a free movie? Two thumbs up.
The Movie: In my opinion, the movie was EXCELLENT. Quick storyline review: Annette and Julianne play a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules, with 2 kids, Joni and Laser (Mia and Josh Hutcherson, respectively). The kids were created with the same anonymous sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo as Paul, an adorably scruffy organic farmer/restaurateur), and as a 15 year old with 2 moms, Laser persuades Joni to look him up. Obviously, his emergence into their lives isn’t without issue, and the movie (who’s tagline is “Nic and Jules had the perfect family, until they met the man who made it all possible.”) explores the different relationships Paul starts with the family. I really liked that this movie looked at an average family (albeit with 2 moms), and explored real issues that are easy to identify with. You can really put yourself in any of these character’s shoes, and empathize with what they’re going through. Another plus for me was how well developed each character was, which was really augmented by the extremely talented cast.
Check out the trailer (Thanks YouTube!)
Gripes: However, I do have a few gripes. First, it really plays up the stereotypes. Nic takes more of the male gender role of the pair, the breadwinner and the strict parent, while Jules is clearly more the female—she stayed at home with the kids and is more earthy crunchy of the two. Second, I thought there was a bias in the way the intimate scenes were portrayed, with hetero sex getting the graphic treatment, and Nic and Jule’s intimacy limited to some kissing and a comic scene involving them watching gay male porno. Reading reviews and comments, it seems some in the gay community don’t feel enough was done to make Nic and Jule’s relationship as legitimate sexually as a hetero relationship.
Finally, what’s up with Laser? Who names a kid Laser and then fails to explain where/why/what that’s about? Weird.
The Oscar potential: High. With a Best Picture field of 10 films, I think there’s a good chance The Kids Are All Right will grab one of those spots. I can also see acting nods for Ruffalo, Bening and Moore and maybe a director nod for director/writer Lisa Cholodenko.
Final verdict: This move is more than all right, go see it! It’s currently in limited release; see where it’s playing here.
Have you seen TKAAR yet? What’d you think?