"The Kids Are All Right" is an entertaining and often very funny comedy-drama about a lesbian couple whose two teenagers decide to find the sperm donor who is their biological father.
The film is a showcase for the superb talents of all five actors who find themselves in this very awkward situation. The 18 year old daughter reaches the donor on his cell phone. "Each of my moms had a kid with your sperm," she tells him. "Like in both?" he asks. "Like in gay," she replies. "Right on, cool. I love lesbians," he says with a grimace on his face.
Mark Ruffalo is that donor, a thirty something restaurant owner who is just a little unnerved when he actually meets his biological offspring.
Their mothers, played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, are a lot more uncomfortable about that meeting.
Afterwards the kids come home, Moore says to them, "You met him, and that's cool and now we can move on." But the daughter says, "I want to see him again." "You do?" says her brother. "You do?" asks Moore.
Mia Wasikowska (who played Alice in the recent Tim Burton version of "Alice in Wonderland") is Joni, the 18 year old, about to leave for college, eager to get away from her mother, Annette Bening.
"She treats me like I'm 12," she tells Ruffalo. "She doesn't want to admit that I'm an adult." "It's your mom," he replies. "That's her job." "It's not her job to smother me,"she says. "If you want things to be different you gotta make that happen yourself," Ruffalo tells her.
Trying to behave responsibly, the five characters spend some time together. That's when the mothers learn that the father of their kids is a college dropout who doesn't like team sports....not at all the person they'd imagined.
And things get really complicated when Moore's character starts to feel an attraction to Mark Ruffalo. "I just keep seeing my kid's expressions in your face," she says. "Really?" he replies making a face. "Like that," she says imitating his face, "like really, yeah."
"The Kids Are All Right" is a refreshing take on many of the kids of challenges faced by any couple with teenagers who suddenly regard their parents as too restrictive and old fashioned. And I can't remember the last film I saw that offered so many good performances.