The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Lisa Cholodenko, the writer/director behind the celebrated debut High Art (1998) and the fascinating but ineffective drama Laurel Canyon (2002), returns to form with The Kids Are All Right - an unpretentious and forthright film about a middle-aged lesbian couple and their two teenaged sperm donor children who decide to lookup their biological father. Being in a lesbian relationship herself, Cholodenko demonstrates how well she knows this domain and understands all the characters involved, and although this isn't a prerequisite for adapting this kind of material to the big screen, it certainly feels like much of the reason why The Kids Are All Right works so well as an interpersonal drama and never falls flat or becomes tacky. Cholodenko rarely moralizes, but if she has a message, it is that although the complications that these people experience are different, the people themselves are plainly ordinary. As such, The Kids Are All Right might serve to disarm critics or cynics, and Cholodenko does it with a comfortable dose of humour along the way. Fine acting by the entire ensemble (the constellations Bening/Moore and Moore/Ruffalo work great off of each other) almost glosses over the somewhat inconclusive ending - the film's only real weak point.