Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
Starring, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening. Mark Rufalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson
Running time: 104 minutes
Released July, 2010

As a friend pointed out, substitute a man for either of the women in this film and you have the most prosaic of stories. It’s that switch that elevates it from a Lifetime movie to a wide-release, big budget film. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT details the very ordinary family life of a lesbian couple (Moore and Bening), who are going through one of the rough spots in a marriage. The women used the same sperm donor to provide them with their two children. The younger child (Hutcherson) persuades his sister (Wasikowska), who is going off to college and feels guilty about leaving, that they need to know the man who provided the sperm. This turns out to be rather easy to do.

That man (Rufalo) is happy to make their acquaintance. A little too happy perhaps. He wants to insert himself into their lives and into Ms. Moore. He hires Moore to help him landscape his garden and along the way, they become involved. But this is not a serious look at this or any issue. Instead it is an enjoyable way to admire the fine acting, lovely sets, good characterization, and witty dialog. Everyone comes off looking pretty well in the end.

I did have a few problems with the film. Moore seemed entirely too willing to have an affair with a man. It was not established she was a bi-sexual and her attitude seemed to be, “I have been waiting for a man (and his penis) my whole life.” I found that rather offensive. Also I thought Rufalo’s desire to be part of the family was given short shrift. Once he had satisfied their curiosity, he was shoved out the door. Moore is forgiven for her sins, but not Rufalo. But these are smallish caveats to my enjoyment of an entertaining summer film.


Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.