Best Picture Nominee Six

The Kids Are All Right

There are several factors that make The Kids Are All Right stand out. Besides the superb acting by Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, there is of course the much talked about fact that the family the film centers around is led by two mothers, Nic and Jules. To make matters more complex the plot revolves around the reunification of Nic and Jules’s two children with their sperm-donor father, Paul.

However, there are also several factors that make it just like any other family dramedy. In the end, this film is really about family. It’s about insecurities and losing trust and how you navigate the tricky waters of expectations. I’ve known quite a few nontraditional families personally so this wasn’t any kind of leap for me, but it was nice to see lesbian parents represented on the big screen.

The best part of this movie is the fact that this family is just like so many other families out there, facing the same ups and downs as any other and the kids just happen to have two moms and a sperm donor dad.

The script is great, acting pitch perfect, and solid direction by Lisa Cholodenko. I really enjoyed her other films, High Art and Laurel Canyon, as well. Her style is laid-back and often focuses on the intricacies of relationships set in particular contexts that may, for some, be seen as out of the mainstream.

While I enjoyed this movie for all of the qualities listed above, as I watched it I couldn’t help thinking, “Would this be up for Best Picture if the parents were straight?” Honestly, I don’t think it would be. But, does that matter?

With such a diverse slate of nominees, I wonder if the Academy is just naturally bringing a wide spectrum of voices to the forefront and if each film represents a side of the movie-making business it wants to celebrate. Maybe this is a good thing. Each of the stories represented is unique, the way the story is told is unique, and the point of view of each director is unique.

In this batch of nominees we have a psychological thriller (Black Swan), a Western remake (True Grit), a sci-fi/corporate espionage picture with a twist (Inception), a current courtroom drama (The Social Network), an alternative family film (The Kids Are All Right), an outdoorsy bio-pic (127 Hours), a feel good British period piece (The King’s Speech), a sporty Boston bio-pic (The Fighter), a sparse Indy drama (Winter’s Bone), and finally, an animated kid’s movie that isn’t really a kid’s movie (Toy Story 3).

I guess it’s like they say: It’s an honor just to be nominated.

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