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December 20, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.

the kids might be all right but the film needs a facelift

The kids are all right.

 

And so is the film. This seasons oscar try hard, basted in political correctness and snappy ‘real life’ dramatic monologues about ‘contemporary’ ‘hard hitting’ social and family issues is nearly enough to make one sick. It one could distill pretention my bet is writer/director Lisa Cholodenko would be a fantastic source.

 

The film follows the life of lesbian couple Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) as they raise their two children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). However after Joni and Laser track down and bring their sperm donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo) to the mix, life becomes very muddled.

 

Nic remains insensitive yet becomes threatened by the arrival, of devil may care, bohemian, I grow local food and have meaningless yet incredible sex with my workers, while riding a bike in some sort of allegorical representation of the definition of cliché aged hipster try hard Paul.

 

Jules jumps the tracks and begins a tumultuous affair with Paul while re-landscaping his garden.

 

Joni and Laser remain pretty dull, (though both of them are rather talented actors) and seem to suggest that in a family of two huge personalities, (nic and jules) its hard for anyone else to have a personality of their own.

 

While Paul, spends the entire film undergoing a series of dramatic personal realizations as confronted with the idea of a family and fatherhood he realizes that a family is what he has wanted all along. (instead of a utopian garden restaurant with exotic wine.)

 

The movie plays like an emotional blitz In the first 15 minutes alone it pack such potential for character development and rising tension, one barely has a second to digest the large volume of information that is being shunted at you. As the story continues however the characters settle into predictable roles and the mystery this film so fiercely promised at its start, devolves into Hollywood expectations. Once the initial humor over the fact that laser and Joni have Mom’s, (not a mom) the rest of it seems ghostly familiar.

 

However ultimately this film is redeemed from the bit of ‘autuer’ despair by the amazing acting ability of both Mom’s. Julian Moore after kissing Paul for the first time explodes in a brief scene that shows her incredible versatility while Annette Benning is exceptional at two distinct dinner sequences.

 

It’s all right, but don’t be mislead by the blind praise people seem to throw at this film. You’ve seen it before, we’ve all seen it before, only this time the couple is lesbian.

(something I am happy to say is becoming common in films, yet it is sad that the idea of lesbian or even gay parenting still feels like something exotic enough to carry the emotional weight of an entire film.)

 

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