Movie Review: “The Kids Are All Right”

"The Kids Are All Right"

I didn’t like this movie half as much as I thought I would, for two reasons:

(1) The trailer gives away too much.

(2) The part the trailer doesn’t give away is the worst part of the movie.

I actually liked the trailer more than the movie.

What follows is a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know, do not continue reading!

The characters:

Nic – the macho side of the lesbian couple, and not an appealing character at all. She is hypercritical, alcoholic, and relentlessly insensitive to the feelings and needs of her family.

Jules – the more feminine side of the lesbian couple, sensitive but insecure, trying hard.

Paul – the gentle and appealing sperm donor who fathered the couple’s two children, Laser and Joni.


The kids go looking for their biological father – the guy who donated the sperm. He’s a sweet gentle guy, agrees to have his anonymity broken. He falls in love with both kids, and then falls in love with one of their mothers, the persecuted Jules, with whom he has has a torrid affair (she starts it). He’s so gentle and supportive and pleasant that she’s irresistably drawn to him, and you’re with her all the way. He’s way nicer than Nic.

But of course the movie can’t end with the lesbian couple splitting and Jules leaving the nasty, alcoholic, and completely unappealing Nic for the sweet, darling sperm donor. So with no further explanation than “marriage is tough”, she decides to stay with Nic. Paul is rejected by both children and Jules and is left alone and heartbroken – despite the great good he brought into the kids’ lives. For example, he was an effective dad with the boy and got him away from a mean, drug-addled friend who was corrupting him.

So basically, what the lovely sweet Paul gets for no greater sin than being receptive to the advances of both the children and Jules is to be kicked in the balls and completely rejected. He is left alone in his garden looking bereft, after Nic yells at him to go create his own family.

And we are supposed to celebrate this great lesbian marriage now? I left the movie theatre thinking that Nic didn’t deserve Jules, and that the entire group of them had cruelly and selfishly used Paul – just thrown him away like a used tissue when they’d gotten what they needed from him. If Nic and Jules were a heterosexual couple, the movie never would have ended that way. The triumphant end would be Jules’ escape from the horrid Nic.

So I didn’t end up liking the movie at all. But I loved the trailer!

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: “The Kids Are All Right”

  1. OMG, I completely agree with you that this movie was grim, humorless, and dreadful. I thought it was the worst of all the movies nominated for an Oscar, and a waste of my time.

  2. I agree so much. After watching the trailer, we rented this with my dad. Not a good family movie. No redeeming plot or message. And we never really get to see what Nic was like before she became an uptight bitch (I gave them the benefit of the doubt that that was once the case). I hated the very end, when Nic and Jules are in the car, and hold hands and smile at each other.

    Problem solved! (really!?!?!)

  3. I enjoyed The Kids Are All Right hugely. The subtle humor between all the characters had me laughing often — rare for me in a movie. There was sufficient nuance in all the dialogues that made them believable. So many different qualities in the relationships, and lots of well communicated feelings. I put it in my top 20 movies of all time. I own less than 10 movies; this is one of them. I wasn’t fixed on feeling a need for any particular ending. It may have been sad for Paul, but it was realistic. It is hard to break the cult of family. Very hard.

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