The house does not rest upon the ground, but upon a woman (two, actually)

Marriage is tricky, even when things are going well. In theory, one should constantly be evolving, growing. Things get difficult when two people are asked to grow together. Sometimes we’re in different places at the same time. Such is the case with Nic (Annette Benning) and Jules (Julianne Moore) in The Kids Are All Right, two women deeply in love who just aren’t talking to each other. At least not about the right things.

Nic is an anal-retentive, pushy mom whose habit of relaxing with a glass of wine is quickly becoming a lifestyle and Jules is an aimless dreamer in the process of starting a landscaping business, the latest of many ventures funded by Nic.

Together they have raised two well-adjusted, smart children. Laser, the unfortunately named, and Joni, named after you know who. Joni has just turned eighteen and is preparing for college. Laser, still only fifteen approaches her one night and asks her to contact their mothers’ sperm donor. She reluctantly agrees, sensing the turmoil something like this may cause.

And boy does it.

Turns out that Paul (Mark Ruffalo) thinks it would be “cool” to meet them. You get the feeling that Paul makes a lot of decisions based on their cool factor, but he’s not a bad guy. He’s genuinely interested in these kids. After he meets Nic and Jules he becomes even more interested. No, it’s not sinister. It’s just that a lesbian married couple using his sperm to start a family is, well, cool. But things do get particularly tricky when Jules and Paul begin taking an interest in each other. Paul thinks he’s falling for her. She knows that this is just a symptom of a bigger problem.

Lisa Choledenko’s film is funny, heartbreaking and honest. Nic and Jules’ relationship is not a gimmick. It’s the real deal and we pull for them. We pull for their family. We even pull for Paul, the big dummy. After all, he means well. It’s just that a man his age should probably stop focusing so much on what’s cool.

I’m not certain I’ve seen a Best Picture winner here, but I am certain that this is the best picture Lisa Choledenko has made thus far and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

The Kids Are All Right is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Annette Benning) & Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Ruffalo)

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