Tuesday, February 8, 2011
More than all right
As noted previously, several of the Motion Picture Academy's Best Picture nominees are already available on DVD, and we used that opportunity this past weekend to catch a couple of the movies we hadn't yet seen. Here's what we thought of one of them...
The Kids Are All Right is an entertaining little story about the ups and downs of family life, with the only notable off-the-beaten-track aspect of the movie being that the two parents in the family are both women. The movie's one other somewhat unusual element is the eventual involvement of a third parental figure, the formerly anonymous sperm donor who enabled the two women to start a family years before. But even that wasn't too unusual, as additional parental figures are something that straight families also regularly encounter, in the form of ex-spouses and ex-significant others.
There are many reasons to enjoy this smart, engaging movie, but I think it especially helps that the strongest political statement the film makes is not to make a political statement, at least not an overt one. If there's a gay cabal in the shadows trying to use the movie to promote a message, the message seems to be a pretty innocuous one, something along the lines of, "Gay parents walk the same path as straight parents. Sometimes we make good decisions, sometimes we make stupid ones, sometimes we treat our partners well, sometimes we hurt them."
In any event, my wife and I both enjoyed this breezy little drama, which works especially well in the comfortable intimacy of your living room (or wherever you watch your movies at home). In fact, it wouldn't be bad if the movie's characters and scenarios were expanded into a television series... though of course you wouldn't get Annette Bening and Julianne moore to reprise their roles. Both are excellent here.
The Kids Are All Right looks and sounds fine on standard DVD, though- somewhat annoyingly- the "rental only" version of the DVD provided to us by Netflix didn't allow access to the many extras listed on the bonus menu. Viewing the extra features, which look interesting, won't be a problem if you buy or borrow a regular retail version of the DVD, or- for all I know- rent the movie from somewhere other than Netflix.