(Minor spoilers ahead!)
In The Kids Are All Right, we’re introduced to a family—an alternative family, but a family nonetheless, consisting of Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as Jules and Nic, respectively, a middle-aged lesbian couple who have been together since they met at UCLA (listen for the story on how they met; it involves a numb tongue).
Meet the parents: Nik, a workaholic doctor, is the uptight one. Her demanding work schedule doesn’t allow her to have much fun (though she does enjoy a glass or four of wine every night), and she seems to be the disciplinarian at home. Her partner is Jules, the “granola” one. Jules doesn’t have everything figured out just yet, but she’s hoping that with a new truck her landscaping business can get underway. They appear happy, with their beautiful house and two teenage children. Joni is a straight-laced, thoughtful, recent high school graduate, and Laser is a 15 year-old boy experimenting with drugs, friends, and the prospect of finding more out about where he came from.
After Joni turns 18, Laser convinces her to get in touch with the man who donated his sperm to help bring the two into existence. This is where Mark Ruffalo comes in, and damn, does he ever make an appearance. Ruffalo, playing Paul the Sperm Donor, has never looked sexier (cue sexy David Bowie song “Win” while picturing Ruffalo on a motorcycle). Paul owns a restaurant that serves only locally grown food, and the atmosphere is heavy on the fresh strawberries, ripe cucumbers, and double entendres. Paul is hairy, charming, laid back, and a bit of a rogue, but he seems to have good intentions, and doesn’t hesitate to meet Joni and Laser when he has no obligation to.
Once Joni and Laser meet Paul, things start to get messy. Nik and Jules’ picture-perfect family is jeopardized when everyone but Nik seems to be spending a little too much time with Paul, who seems to have no problem welcoming himself into their busy lives.
The performances from the entire cast are beautiful. Bening is hilarious and heartbreaking as the paranoid wife who just wants to have her family back to the way it was before Paul entered it. You don’t know whether you want to kiss or punch Ruffalo’s Paul (for me, it’s the former), as he causes jealousy and hurt in the family.
So go have yourself a glass of red wine, an organic peach, and see this movie. Do it for the kids.