The Kids Are All Right


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

As I write this, in November of 2010, this dramedy scores a 96% at Rotten Tomatoes, and has been touted as an Oscar contender, but that's really only because it's one of those "flavor of the day" movies. It's about a long-term lesbian couple raising two very normal teenagers who want to meet their sperm donor.

There's nothing wrong with that idea, and there's nothing wrong with the movie. It's pleasant enough to watch and the characters are complex. You just can't quite figure out why anybody would think this film should be an Oscar contender. I guess it has been elevated to that status because it's promoting our thought for the year - that children being raised in non-traditional families are no different from any other kids. That's OK with me, I guess. There's no statistically significant evidence to confirm or refute that hypothesis, so I guess I'll tentatively accept it in the name of tolerance, and because it seems reasonable.

But here's the deal. This film, as I see it, has absolutely nothing at all to do with a lesbian relationship. With only tiny changes in the script, it could just as easily be about a man and a woman who, for one reason or another, require a surrogate father for their children. Indeed, the gay partners are so completely de-gayed by the script that when one of them eventually has an affair, it is with a man, her sperm donor. Of course, that's the whole point of the film - that a lesbian couple raising kids in a long-term marriage can behave exactly the same and face the exact same problems as any hetero couple in the same situation. I don't disagree with that point, but my argument is that if the film had been made from the exact same script, except with the doctor character being a male in need of surrogate sperm, nobody would be touting The Kids Are All Right as an Oscar candidate. It would just be another routine and somewhat pedestrian character-based dramedy starring good actors, like so many that come and go every year.

I don't mean to diss the movie, because it is executed well and I enjoyed it, but I do think that if The Kids Are All Right gets any Oscar nods, it will be because its message is timely, not because that message is delivered in a particularly memorable, complex, or interesting way that will cause us to remember the film years from now.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is a competent, pleasant character-based dramedy.


Blu-Ray DVD


3.5 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
3.5 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
96 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
86 (of 100)


7.7 IMDB summary (of 10)
B Yahoo Movies


Box Office Mojo. It grossed $20 million. It never reached higher than 10th place, but hovered between 10th and 17th for seven weeks. It maxxed out at 994 theaters.



  • Julianne Moore showed her breasts more than once, but always fleetingly.
  • Yaya DeCosta shows her breasts in a brief sex scene.