Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

I caught The Kids Are All Right the other day at El Con, 5:00 show. My favorite ticket taker was on duty, Michael. He's probably mid forties and kind of on the slow side but about a million times nicer than the shrew that usually takes tickets. I'm serious, it's a giant shrew that somehow managed to get a job at a movie theater, I don't know how it did it. I'm kidding, it's a weird lady. The late matinee has to be my favorite time to see a movie. Usually just you and a bunch of old people.
That particular audience consisted solely of myself and what appeared to be some sort of retiree movie club. There was a bout twelve of them, all gabbing the way people of that age gab. By that I mean, talking about bullshit that I can't possibly understand caring about. They sat far enough away that I couldn't really understand exactly what they were saying but close enough to remind me of a flock of cranky birds.
I saw some good previews in front of this one. Notably Never Let Me Go which I'm really excited for, though I usually don't care for Kiera Knightly (she's built like a weird shaped kite). It also has Andrew Garfield who was pretty good in the first Red Riding movie.
I didn't have high hopes going into The Kids Are All Right. It seemed like it was going to be a really obvious family drama that was decently acted but didn't offer an incredible amount of insight. Both of the movies I've seen by Lisa Cholodenko have been almost good. I can't quite say I wholeheartedly liked either High Art or Laurel Canyon both had aspects I enjoyed but neither really captivated me. I suspected the same would be true of The Kids Are All Right. I wasn't totally wrong but it is definitely a more capable and enjoyable film.
Julianne Moore is far and away one of my favorite actresses working today. Perhaps second only to Jennifer Jason Leigh. She is great as the less together element of the couple, Jules. Her spacey delivery balances out the wonderfully cutting silences that Annette Bening offers up in her role of Nic as the controlling breadwinner. Their performances form a great base for the film. Mark Ruffalo is capable in his role as Paul the sperm donor who fathered their children but he doesn't offer anything other than you'd expect from him. He is another one of my favorite actors but he never seems to be in good movies. He's kind of an Eric Stoltz for a new generation.
My favorite thing about the movie was that the two actors playing the kids in the movie acted like actual teenagers. They wore appropriate clothes and listened to appropriate music. It sounds obvious but it is actually quite rare to find a movie where this happens. Children and teenagers are almost always overly precocious, speaking like adults and having adult emotions. The writing for these two characters was terrific, they were at times impulsive with their emotions and responses. They accurately appeared to not know where their feelings were coming from. So kudos to whoever they were, I can't remember, I think the boy was in the Spiderwick Chronicles or something.
When I left the theater it was dark and since I went in during the day, I considered it a small victory as I always do when that happens.