The Kids Are All Right
(USA, 104 min)
Dir: Lisa Cholodenko Writ: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg.
Starring: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson.
I wonder how easy it is to find a greeting card that says “Happy Mothers’ Day”? Probably not very. Too bad, because The Kids Are All Right
shows that sometimes, two moms are better than one. The two moms are Nic and Jules, played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, respectively. With her short-cropped her and type-A personality, Nic could be like the “husband” in the marriage, and Jules, a more sensitive waify type, could be the "wife"; however, The Kids Are All Right
avoids such stereotypes and rather uses the moms’ likeness to other parents to effectively deconstruct contemporary notions of the nuclear family.
Bening and Moore offer two of the year’s best performances as Nic and Jules. Interestingly, both actresses play characters similar to those of their films earlier this year, yet the difference with which they express each part displays the versatility of each great actress. In Mother and Child
, Annette Bening played Karen, who, like Nic, is neurotic in her desire to realize her ideals for the family. Whereas Karen was devastatingly damaged, Bening’s Nic is a strong, but fragile, mother fighting to preserve her family. At times, Nic can be just as overbearing as Karen, but with the passionate concern that Bening invests in her character, Nic is far more hopeful and sympathetic. Similarly, Julianne Moore’s Jules feels that her wife no longer finds her attractive, much like her character Catherine in Chloe
feared that her husband was being unfaithful because he found her to be losing her sex appeal. In both films, Moore’s characters find themselves in situations that lead them to question themselves, but in Kids
, Moore offers a more endearing and sensitive performance that is dramatically polar to her subtle displays of desire in Chloe
. Together, Bening and Moore make a most dynamic and engaging onscreen team.