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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: The Kids Are All Right

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December 10, 2010

Movie Review Friday: The Kids Are All Right

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Friday selections. Each week we review a film with environmentally or socially-responsible themes that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD.

Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 words or less and look for your review in the next Movie Friday.

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right is a family film for a new generation, in that it is the story of a family unit comprised of a lesbian couple, Jules and Nic (Julianne Moore and Annette Benning), their two children Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson), and the sperm donor responsible for their existence, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). At its core, it tells of the tight bonds of family and the struggles of a marriage, but also works as a realistic cross section of social issues and attitudes in the current era.

Director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko builds the characters and allows them to cultivate relationships with each other, at which point the acting, especially from Moore, just runs away with the story. The environmental aspects of the film lie in the background, as Jules works in landscaping and after starting to work for Paul, she begins to adopt his greener, organic ideas. This drives the more white-collar, derisive Nic crazy, and her mocking attitude toward sustainable concepts spills out after too much wine while out to dinner with friends. Minute as they are, the green facets are made all the more interesting by the strength of the performances.

Putting environmental notions in the story casually, through the opinions and thoughts of the characters, makes them noticeable yet subtle and gives the film some thematic legs to stand on. It injects a realistic illustration of how such ideals are handled in society — exemplified in Paul's everyday practices and Nic's patronizing attitude toward it as a whole.  Both kinds of people exist, and this inclusion strengthened their characters and worked as a story device while not dominating their personalities or distracting from the main plot line.

--Justin Klugh



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