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Movie Review: The Kids are All Right

Alternate Title: All in the Family

Story: I normally favor films with more action than this gem from director Lisa Cholodenko but hours after leaving the theater I was still thinking about this quiet film. The movie revolves around a routine, unexceptional family with two teenage kids, two cars and a nice house in the suburbs. The only stand out exception to the norm is that there are two 'Moms' in the house and both kids are from the same anonymous sperm donor. The film takes the position that there is nothing exceptional about this situation and so will you. The film was smartly written by Ms. Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.

The spark in the film lights when the older teenager tracks down the anonymous sperm donor and he enters the picture. How this guy handles his new 'family' and how they handle this new 'family member' is the heart and soul of the film. All five of the major characters are fully formed, occasionally flawed and very real.

The production values are first rate, the acting is amazing and the story will move you in many directions. Take some time out this summer and catch this fine film.

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdDSqgZ87fM

Acting: Kudos all around to a fabulous cast. Julianne Moore as Jules has not been this good in years. Annette Bening as Nic is one of the best actors around. She should be getting more work. Mark Ruffalo as Paul is nothing short of perfect. Mia Wasikowska as Joni and Josh Hutcherson as Laser are both outstanding.

Trivia: Julianne Moore is left-handed. Director Lisa Cholodenko earned an MFA at Columbia University Film School where she made an award winning short film "Dinner Party". Her feature "High Art" won the National Society of Film Critics award for Ally Sheedy's performance and The Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at Sundance. Writer Stuart Blumberg attended Yale University with Edward Norton and were once roommates. Australian actor Mia Wasikowska beat out several other actresses for the lead in Alice in Wonderland (2010).

Predilection: none

Critters: Surprisingly none

Food: Lots of 'local' organic food featured.

Sex Spectrum: Yes. Sex is a big component in the film. Some quite funny.

Soundtrack: A terrific soundtrack featuring a lovely scene using Joni Mitchell lyrics. Music by Carter Burwell;

Visual Art: This California suburb has all of the amenities.

Theater Audience: Crowded for a 10 AM Saturday morning showing.

Weather: Lovely.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch several times after the first hour.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Hmm - there might be a nod here and there.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8