Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Annette Bening
Julianne Moore
Mark Ruffalo.
Directors
Lisa Cholodenko.
Screenwriters
Stuart Blumberg
Lisa Cholodenko.
Running Time
109 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Ida
4 Star Empire Rating
Night Will Fall
4 Star Empire Rating
Grand Piano
3 Star Empire Rating
20,000 Days On Earth
4 Star Empire Rating
Manuscripts Don't Burn
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

The Kids Are All Right
And the next blockbaster is...


submit to reddit


Plot
Teens Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) live with their two mothers, Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore), who both used the same sperm donor. Laser persuades Joni to contact the donor, Paul (Ruffalo), who bonds with Joni and Jules, much to Nic’s disapproval.


Review
The Kids Are All Right
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as lesbian life partners: it’s a compelling proposition from the off. They make an instantly convincing couple in this comedy-drama that would work almost as well without the gender twist.

The challenges of child-rearing have put a subtle strain on the relationship between Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) — and the gap only widens when sperm donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo) comes into the picture. Hard-working Nic is wary of the intruder, but free-spirited Jules shares a cautious rapport with him. Agreeing to landscape his garden, Jules grows closer to Paul while Nic grits her teeth and knocks back the red wine after work.

It’s a keenly observed portrait of a marriage put to the test, and of human behaviour in the face of change or threat. Despite their differences, both Nic and Jules are utterly relatable: their decisions make sense even when we know they’re bad ones.

It’s clear that director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko (High Art) knows her subjects well: she even fell pregnant via a sperm donor while working on the screenplay. You sense co-writer Stuart Blumberg had strong input in the role of charming bachelor Paul, another thoroughly identifiable character perfectly pitched by Ruffalo.

Josh Hutcherson is decent as the bolshy son, while Mia Wasikowska is self-assured as clever, considered Joni. These teenagers are happy with their parents but curious about their father, and their explorations lead to poignant and funny moments.

For yes, this is funny. For every smart little observation there’s a big laugh, and the two are often combined. Conversations show a keen eye for awkwardness, from Paul’s rant against teams to sporty Laser, to his explanation of why he donated sperm (“It just seemed like a lot more fun than giving blood”). Cholodenko keeps the mood breezy, always seeing the humour in uncomfortable situations without losing a sense of heart.

There’s a danger of the children being slightly underwritten; in particular, a subplot about Laser and his obnoxious mate never comes to fruition. This is the adult’s show — but that’s kind of the point. The kids are alright — it’s the grown-ups we should be worried about.


Verdict
A witty, warm exploration of family life that’s conventional and unconventional in equal measure.


Reviewed by Anna Smith

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Kids Are All Right
Empire Star Rating

Very Good

Enjoyable with a few laughs along the way. All the actors were great. Mark Ruffalo is certainly choosing some good roles. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MIKETHEBIKE2006 at 22:58, 19 January 2013 | Report This Post


The Kids Are All Right Review

Worthwhile as both a well-acted ensemble piece and as a smart, warm statement on family values, The Kids Are All Right is remarkable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:14, 17 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Not Happy Families.....

Cliched tripe which doesnt really know what it´s saying. Bad hetrosexual man! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 10:52, 26 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Not Happy Families.....

Completely agree with Wilder. Saw this recently and thought yes the acting was great and as mentioned in the review it has a light breezy feel, but at the end it was like the writer just completely forget about Mark Ruffalo's character! He was a really likeable guy with no malicious intent towards anyone, and yet somehow we were all supposed to forgive Jules for her actions but not him. The tone clearly seemed to imply the film had a happy ending, yet it was anything but for him.... More

Posted by brucejackiejet at 10:38, 26 September 2011 | Report This Post


Average. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 23:23, 03 January 2011 | Report This Post


Good but just doesn't quite make it to great!

The acting is superb, the subject matter is interesting, as are the characters and in general its nicely done. I think it it just doesn't have the vital spark to make it a great movie and I think it will have a limited audience because of the 'different' subject matter but if you are lucky enough to see it you'll be entertained for a couple of hours. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tothemax100 at 00:32, 03 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Not Happy Families.....

Have to agree with that although felt sorry for Ruffalo's character at the end where it was just like OH BAD HETROSEXUAL MAN! & just banished from the film I could understand if he was a dick but his character was a pretty decent type of a bloke, bit of a HIPPY but decent enough. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:26, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


Not Happy Families.....

Just come back from the Cinema after watching " The Kids are Allright " and to be honest, its a difficult one to call. The acting is superb, the subject matter is a bit weird / strange though, and its a bit of a long winded affair all round. Its not a BAD Film, but one I think will have a limited audience that do actually enjoy it......... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 17:45, 02 November 2010 | Report This Post


Not Happy Families.....

Just come back from the Cinema after watching " The Kids are Allright " and to be honest, its a difficult one to call. The acting is superb, the subject matter is a bit weird / strange though, and its a bit of a long winded affair all round. Its not a BAD Film, but one I think will have a limited audience that do actually enjoy it......... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 17:45, 02 November 2010 | Report This Post


Good, but nothing that impressive...

Just been out to see The Kids Are Alright. It was pretty good, though not the must-see I'd rather been expecting. Central performances excellent - obviously Annette Bening & Julianne Moore, but also Mark Ruffalo. Also a very good newcomer performance (playing the daughter) from Mia Wasikowska - watch out for more from her. It felt slightly overlong at 106 mins, perhaps because it ran out of things to say? Or maybe it was more that it didn't really know what it was trying to say, beyond so... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tim_Walker at 00:58, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


Fantastic film

I saw that a few weeks ago in France and it was absolutely amazing, It did something that even many movies with straight couples couldn't achieve: shows the struggle of a marriage, and the difficulties of making it work, which could happen to any couples of any orientation. By tackling this very topic, plus the situation with the kids wondering about their biological father and the crisis it creates, it's a modern tale of a modern family facing a new challenge, and it's so damn good. And ne... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MarieMJS at 11:47, 26 October 2010 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Future Of Film: There’ll Be An Oscar For Performance Capture
And the Academy Award goes to...

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

How We Made The Boxtrolls
Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable talk us through the challenges of bringing Laika’s latest to life

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)