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Film

The kids are just OK

OUT NOW! THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT fights banality with good acting. It's a draw.

Even though The Kids Are All Right initially looks more unconventional than another contemporary family film Cyrus (Nov 25), it actually follows a much more traditional idea of family. Forget for a moment that mom and dad are both women; Annette Bening as the bread-winner and Julianne Moore as the warm-hearted caregiver would fit quite nicely into Leave it to Beaver’s world. And forget for a moment that their children were conceived in vitro – all they want, like the adopted orphans of yesteryore, is to find their real progenitor.

The unconventionality of this family is simply surface gloss to attract an art-housey audience by being pretend-hip. The introduction of a dad threatens to derail the foursome’s happiness for a while, but in the end, completes the family in a way it wasn’t before. Sexual politics aside however, The Kids Are All Right provides plenty of fun and good acting, from Mark Ruffalo’s (see left for our interview with Ruffalo) easygoing masculinity to Moore’s confusion over who she is, to Bening’s wonderfully real middle-aged career woman-slash-mom, who is very earnestly trying to do the right thing.

The Kids Are All Right | Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (USA 2010), with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Opens November 18.