The Kids Are All Right is a 2010 American comedy-drama film directed by Lisa Cholodenko and written by Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.
One of Sundance 2010's breakout hits, it opened in limited release on July 9, 2010, expanding to more theaters on July 30, 2010.It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 16, 2010. The film was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, and Annette Bening was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film also received 4 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a married lesbian couple living in California. They have each given birth to a child using the same anonymous sperm donor. Nic, an obstetrician, is the primary breadwinner and the stricter parent, while Jules is more laid back and lives as a housewife who is starting up a landscape design business. While the couple is happy, and the family functioning well, it is also clear that their relationship has begun to go stale.
The younger child Laser (Josh Hutcherson) is eager to find his biological father, but has to be 18 to find the identity of the sperm donor. He begs his 18-year-old sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska) to contact the sperm bank in order to meet their biological father, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). The first meeting goes well. Joni is impressed by his bohemian lifestyle and Paul is enthusiastic about being in their lives. Joni swears Laser to secrecy as she does not want to upset their mothers. However, Jules and Nic find out and invite Paul over to dinner. The atmosphere is awkward but amiable. When Jules reveals that she has a landscape business, Paul asks her to landscape his back garden. Jules agrees, although Nic does not like the idea.
While working for Paul, Jules likes that he appreciates her work in contrast to Nic who, Jules feels, never supported her career. Jules impulsively kisses him one afternoon. They end up in bed together and begin an affair.
Jules and the kids start spending more time with Paul. Nic believes that Paul undermines her authority over the children, for example by giving Joni a ride on his motorcycle when she has forbidden it and suggesting that she give Joni more freedom. After a heated argument with Jules, Nic suggests that they all have dinner at Paul's house to ease the situation. Things begin to improve, as Nic relaxes and makes a connection with Paul over their mutual love for Joni Mitchell. During the dinner, however, Nic is shocked to discover traces of Jules's hair in Paul's bathroom and bedroom. When they return home, Nic confronts Jules. At first, Jules denies it but then admits to the affair. Nic is devastated, but Jules insists she is not in love with Paul and has not turned straight; she just wanted to be appreciated. The household becomes very tense, with Jules sleeping on the couch. The children are angry at Jules and Paul. Paul thinks he has fallen for Jules, and since the relationship between Nic and Jules has deteriorated anyway, he suggests that she leave Nic, bring the kids, and come live with him. Jules passionately declines.
The night before Joni leaves home to go to college, Paul turns up at the house. Nic angrily confronts him, calling him an interloper, and tells him that if he wants a family then he should make one of his own. Following this, Jules addresses her family. She states that "marriage is hard" and tearfully admits her errors and begs for forgiveness. The next morning, the family, pointedly missing Paul, takes Joni to her new university. While Nic and Jules together hug Joni to say goodbye, they also affectionately touch each other. During the ride home, Laser tells his moms, "you guys shouldn't break up" because they are both too "old".
Jules and Nic both giggle at Laser's comment, and the film ends with them smiling emotionally at each other and clasping hands.
Annette Bening as Dr. Nicole 'Nic' Allgood, an OB/GYN specialist. She is hurt when the children decide to bring Paul into their lives, and worried that he will disrupt the family dynamic; she is Joni's biological mother.
Julianne Moore as Jules Allgood, who has never had a career but is interested in starting a landscape design business; she is Laser's biological mother
Mark Ruffalo as Paul Hatfield, the owner of a organic foods restaurant who likes women, but also likes his freedom. He was the anonymous sperm donor for both children.
Mia Wasikowska as Joni Allgood, who has recently turned 18 and is set to leave for college.
Josh Hutcherson as Laser Allgood, the 15-year-old son who asks Joni to help him meet their biological father.
Yaya DaCosta as Tanya, a friend and occasional lover of Paul's.
Eddie Hassell as Clay, a friend of Laser; Nic and Jules think he's unstable.
Zosia Mamet as Sasha, a friend of Joni.
Kunal Sharma as Jai, a friend of Joni.
Lisa Cholodenko and Blumberg began outlining the script in late 2004, based in part on some aspects of her life. The project was helped to get off the ground by the caliber of actors who agreed to join, first Julianne Moore, followed by Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening. Cholodenko stated, "People really admired what Stuart [Blumberg] and I got on the page but there was a fear factor regarding how the film was going to make money, as the subject matter is tricky." The film nearly got the green light in 2006, but Cholodenko postponed the project after she became pregnant by way of an anonymous sperm donor. After giving birth, she resumed work on the film and won financing from three major investors, including the French distributor UGC.
Principal photography was completed in 23 days in Los Angeles in July 2009. The film was made for approximately $4 million. The filmmakers rushed to finish the post-production in time for the Sundance Film Festival, where it was admitted after the deadline for competitive entries. On January 25, 2010 the film had its premiere, becoming one of the festival's breakout hits.A few days later, Focus Features acquired the distribution rights for $4.8 million. At the 60th Berlinale, the film was awarded with a Teddy. The film closed the 2010 Sydney Film Festival and opened the Los Angeles Film Festival.
The film was released to near universal acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 95% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 200 reviews.The site's consensus is that "Worthwhile as both a well-acted dramedy and as a smart, warm statement on family values, The Kids Are All Right is remarkable." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 1–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 86 based on 38 reviews, with the film in the "universal acclaim" category.
New York Film Critics Online bestowed the film with its Best Ensemble Cast award. Annette Bening won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Nominations were also given to Julianne Moore for Best Actress and Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg for Best Screenplay. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening were both rewarded with nominations for the BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Mark Ruffalo was nominated for the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg were also nominees for Best Original Screenplay. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 83rd Academy Awards. Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg were also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Box office performance
Opening in limited release at seven theaters, The Kids Are All Right grossed $491,971 in its first weekend.At $70,282 per theater, the film scored the highest average gross in the year to date. It expanded to 38 theaters on July 16, then 201 on July 23 and finally 847 on July 30 As of December 20, the film had grossed a total of $29,365,490 worldwide.