THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Or “Scenes from a Contemporary Marriage”. It is timely, well-acted and I fall into the minority that found it tedious, boring, with minimal interest in any of the principals, the exception being the children. Mia Wasikowska as Joni, the soon to be college freshman captures the essence of a bright, sophisticated, mature young woman: credit has to go to the “Moms” for her development. Josh Hutcherson as Laser is more complex; the typical boy keeping his thoughts, desires and opinions primarily to himself. The successful scenes revolve around the “Moms” soliciting him to open up and share his feelings; he stoically and with a certain dismantling charm rejects their prodding. All who have raised children will relate to these frustrating, realistic moments.
Annette Bening, as Nic gives a fine and credible performance as the bread winner in the family; she is not likeable, she whines and whimpers and elicits little or no sympathy.
Julianne Moore plays Jules, the stay at home Mom who with her daughter leaving for college and her fifteen old son moving into the nebulous and inexorable teenage world, decides to tackle a new career as a landscape artist (in this scenario a euphemism for gardener). Moore, also accomplished and amazingly convincing in the role garnishes little empathy, especially with her choices. Maybe that was planned; like many who quest for professional validity that is rarely granted, grasping the ephemeral dying leaves that invade their path.
Mark Roffalo as Paul is exceptional and insatiably gobbles up the good fortune thrust upon him. He is the alchemist pivoting and transforming one family member to another, he is genuinely endearing and could cook for me any Sunday.
The children are fine; it is the parents that are teetering on the precipice of disillusionment.