Knee-jerk review: "The Kids Are All Right"

1. It's been a while since we've seen an independent movie in a theater. When they're good, they're very, very good.
2. This one falls squarely into the Silver Lake/Westside subgenre of indie dramas, the ones that feature upper middle-class Los Angeles characters (there's also a subgenre featuring affluent, navel-gazing East Coasters) who live in amazing houses, discuss trendy topics like locavore foods, own their own hip little restaurants, and spend a lot of time agonizing over problems that are only problems for those who don't have to worry about paying the bills.
3. Bonus points for one character's rant against that very same hollow, smug, save-the-world vibe that makes liberals feel so good about themselves.
4. It's essentially a five-person drama. And each of the five characters get some very strong moments - funny lines, emotional breakdowns, etc. This is what they mean when they say you need to create a part that will attract an actor. Who wouldn't want to play all five of these parts?
5. We're proud of Annette Bening for allowing herself to look her age without resorting to botox or surgery. You go, girl.
6. You don't often see movies that examine this closely the mundane everyday joys, tensions, and grudges of a marriage. We can't even think of the last one we saw. The closest thing is probably the Taylors on NBC's "Friday Night Lights." Usually marriage is a backdrop for a string of jokes and one-liners (usually about how horrible marriage is) or a device used to increase the stakes and give the hero (usually a man) Something to Lose.
7. We knew something bad was going to happen when Nic decided to use the bathroom. We just didn't know how it was going to play out.
8. "No lines."
9. We don't think Julianne Moore has ever been this cute.
10. There are no easy answers here regarding how a sperm donor might or might not get involved in his the lives of his biological "children." Yes, he helps change these two kids for the better . But he also causes a lot of problems. And as well-intentioned as he might be, you agree with Annette Bening when she tells him off towards the end of the movie.
11. Most refreshing of all, that the parents here are a lesbian couple is barely a factor.
12. It'll surely be in 2010's top ten lists come December.

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