Feb 15, 2011

[Spoiler Alert] Best Picture Nominees #4: The Kids Are All Right

The Wicked Web We Weave
Probably the quietest movie of the Best Picture nominees, The Kids Are All Right is a delightful film with a wicked kicker.  The casting director was clearly given the note "sullen" when picking out a cast. Even in the happier moments of the film, the characters
in the film have a sadness buried underneath their pleasant exteriors. And that's really what the film is about - unhappy people trying to find one thing to hold onto.  For most of the characters (Annette Bening's 'Nic' being the exception), the thing to grab hold of is Mark Ruffalo's 'Paul.'  Mark Ruffalo is charming and affable as hell.  He's basically been waging an adorable crusade for his entire career, and in this film he puts that cache to good use. He's not a great guy, but you can't help but love him anyway.
Oh, the Guilt - The Sexy, Sexy Guilt
Annette Bening gives a perfect performance as Nic, and has quieted some of the critics at Tableau who have never been fans of Bening (An American President aside). She's gives the opposite of the very actor-y performance of Natalie Portman in Black Swan. For Bening, everything is natural and un-forced. The same is true for Julianne Moore, who really should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. She's so incredibly beautiful and gives and almost lupine performance, acting almost on instinct (that may be a  terrible metaphor). She's also beautiful, horny, and dangerous, which is pretty wolf-ish. Mia Wasikowska is also on hand, and she doesn't grimace nearly as much as she does in Alice in Wonderland - it's nice to see her stretch emotionally. She's not great, but she's often quite lovely.

The film hits some false notes, and the ending seems a bit rushed. It just sort of ends, without much character closure. It's a familiar element, especially in indie films, where not having an ending is as predictable as having a happy ending. Still, it's quite a nice film.

Best Picture: No
Good Movie: Yeah, absolutely
Score: 7.5/10
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