Indie in summer: including a movie review of The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska (with trailer video)

[image-1]Kids hits many of the same notes as past family dramas, but it does so with a sharp attention to the nuances of family dynamics. This is a movie that not only considers why we hurt the ones we love the most, but also how we find the will to forgive. Strip out the details that are sending conservative critics into a homophobic tizzy (They're gay and have kids! There's drug use! Is that a dildo?!!?), and what's left is a movie that will connect with anyone who's ever been in a family. (That means you.)

There is a temptation to discuss Kids strictly in terms of the culture wars, but that would be to completely miss the movie. This is a very funny, entertaining and gripping film, mostly due to the actors. I could rave about all five principals, but let me single out Bening; the actress takes an unforgiving, difficult role and plays it honestly, in the process creating a wonderful, human character who earns our admiration. Bening has been one of the best actresses in Hollywood for a long while (anyone remember The Grifters?), and her performance here stands as one of her best.

The Kids Are All Right is destined for a short run at the box office, so see it soon or be left out of all those "best movie of the year" conversations come December.

For fans of independent filmmaking, the weekend of July 23 marks an oasis of thought-provoking cinema in the desert of dumb that has been the 2010 summer movie season. Your options include the funny and moving family drama with a decidedly modern twist profiled below; a period piece about two of the most famous lovers of the early 20th century; and a documentary that aims to track down the "angriest RV salesman in the world." (Note: In the print edition we highlighted I Am Love as well. After we went to press I Am Love was pushed back a week by the Tampa Theatre and will now open on July 30. Look for Shannon Bennett's review next week on Daily Loaf.)

Or you can go see Salt, which Kevin Hopp has reviewed here. Whichever you choose, we won't judge you. Much.


Yes, the youngsters are doing just fine in The Kids Are All Right, a funny-yet-wrenching family drama from director Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon), but someone should check on the adults.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as middle-aged lesbians whose lives are thrown into chaos after their teenage kids (well played by Josh Hutcherson and Alice In Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska) track down their sperm-donor daddy (Mark Ruffalo). He's a rugged restaurateur who grows his own veggies, rides a rad motorcycle and knocks all the ladies dead. As a bad boy he's irresistible, but as a father figure he's got as much growing up to do as his long-lost offspring.


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