“I enjoyed this movie a lot. It’s got some of that honest life humor that always strikes some common drum beat in us all.”
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
I would certainly not have this cover as a poster. It is awful, let’s be honest here people. It’s boring and lazy and it does NOT represent the vibe of the movie in any way shape or form. I have nothing more to say about it, except…GET A CREATIVE CLUE DVD box cover designer people!! The menu is similar, blah.
- The Journey To Forming A Family – None of these extras are much to talk about unfortunately. This is brief, talking heads interviews. How do we make a family not be traditional, but still traditional, and funny, and charming, and sweet, and touching, and etc.
- The Making Of The Kids Are All Right – Another talking heads with nothing much to offer except a hint of how they got the cast together.
- The Writer’s Process – The director is co-writer, and her co-writer is a dude, and they talk about how it was to be “stuck” in a room together to write this story.
- Feature Commentary By Director – I don’t want to be snotty, but I wasn’t interested in what the director/writer had to say about the movie. She does a little talking in the extras and I got what I needed from that.
The Movie: 7/10
I enjoyed this movie a lot. It’s got some of that honest life humor that always strikes some common drum beat in us all. The people are interesting enough, not riveting or anything like that, but comfortable and I wanted to know about their lives, so that’s a good thing. The story is one of those “we wanted to be edgy but mix it up with non-traditional/alternative lifestyle choices to rattle a few cages” types of things. I get it. Life is complicated and we all think we have to adhere to certain rules and when we don’t we are on the fringe, BUT we should all realize we have unique lives mixed with common issues that we share with all humanity. I think that sums it up pretty well.
A family is a group of people who function as a unit, sort of, and always have each other as a foundation. It doesn’t always work out that cleanly in real life, but in the movies we like to hope for the best. A lesbian couple who have raised two kids who were created with the sperm of a donor 15 and 19 years go, face the reality that he is now becoming part of their lives. It opens up a lot of other issues, like the personality of each character. We have the controlling head of family. We have the frustrated housewife. We have the angst ridden teenage son, and the over achieving headed to college daughter. Oh, and let’s not forget the hippish organic farmer dude who rides a motorcycle and hates team sports but runs a successful snooty restaurant. Nevermind the complications of infidelity, heart break, regrets, love, honor, and obey. 🙂
The performances are the main ingredient in this recipe. Bening, I’m in love with her. Moore has her moments of actorlyness, but it’s more like her character to be expressive so it’s fine. Ruffalo has a few extra hippyish glimpses, but overall it’s one of my favorite roles he’s ever done. The kids are both quality. The young lady was Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I can’t remember her name at the moment and I’m too lazy to flip to a new tab to look it up, or even scroll up to look at the cover, but you can do that yourself. She’s awesome. The son was in RV (apply laziness again) and he’s got a very tense quality that’s perfect for his teenager with anger issues tone. The friends of the kids do steal their scenes, so overall the people make this movie top quality.
The sets are a bit too perfect, the restaurant, the upscale houses, it’s a tad pretentious to be quite honest. I don’t mind, but it’s that very overly manufactured reality that’s pretending to be real reality without the grit or the REALITY.
Hollywood types seem to be in love with pre-fab well built lives complete with gloss and shine, but without the real underbelly. Teenagers who talk back and spouses who find excitement in the bed of someone else aren’t exactly harsh elements to deal with. They are trying and can be a chance for learning about how families and relationships work, it’s just that in The Kids Are All Right it’s tamed so much I yearn for a bit more. We recently watched Welcome to the Rileys, that has more guts, grit, whatever that makes it all feel more substantial in ways I’m not sure I can put into words.
The Kids Are All Right isn’t a hard look at family life, it’s more like through a filter of cool and Bridget Jonesness. I liked it a lot, so that’s not an insult. There is a place for this story and the characters in our modern world, or any time of the world I guess, people who love each other, annoy each other, need each other, and struggle through life together.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Blu-Ray presentation of The Kids Are All Right is in line with most modern HD transfers. The 1.85:1 image is crystal clear throughout. The only issue I do have with the transfer is it seems a little grainier than it should be. I know film grain is a good thing but this seems to have more than most films I have seen on Blu-Ray. It might have been a design decision but it’s worth mentioning.
As with most talky movies, The Kids Are All Right will not win any awards for sound design. What it does do though is present the dialog (even mumbly Mark Ruffalo can be understood most of the time) clearly and in the center of the screen where it should be. It also presents a nice ambiance. Twice we had to stop the film as we thought a dog was barking at the garage door.
Overall while this movie might not win Best Picture this year the performances are subtle and moving, if you are interested in actors at the top of their game this is the movie for you.
The extras aren’t worth a purchase, that’s for sure. The movie is really entertaining and fun, it’s just not something I need on my shelf forever. I would rent it in a flash along with a couple other heartthrobbing movies like Love Actually, and Bridget Jones Diary. You can have a manufactured reality festival, laugh, cry, eat popcorn, and have a great Saturday afternoon at the movies.
Overall Score 7/10