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The Kids Are All Right

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Kids Are All Right Movie Poster Image
Mature, witty family dramedy explores love, parenthood.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's central messages revolve around parenting, presenting it as a difficult task, but one with infinite rewards if you do your job right. It suggests that being a parent goes way beyond titles -- what is a mother? what is a father? -- and that it's who you are and how you treat your kids that makes you a good parent (or not). The film also seems to be saying that growing up requires some distancing from our parents -- a dicey transition that can bring out the worst in people, at least for a little while.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nic and Jules are devoted to their children, and even though they make mistakes, take each other for granted, and are prone to bickering, they love and respect each other. Paul steps up and embraces fatherhood, despite his unusual path to that role. And although teens Laser and Joni push boundaries, they're aware that their actions have repercussions for which they should be responsible.


A teenage boy berates and belittles his friend and hits him. Men and women hurt the ones they love both with actions and with words.


A man and a woman are seen having sex; her breasts are visible, and his behind is shown thrusting. Teens watch a pornographic movie that shows men hooking up with each other (their behinds are visible). A woman goes under the covers and performs a sex act on her female partner. A teen girl talks about older men -- and everything else -- in a sexualized manner.


Many uses of words including “bitches," “ass," "s--t," "f--k," "d--k," "p---y," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens are shown drinking and crushing a pill, then snorting the resulting powdery substance. An adult appears to like drinking a bit too much, and she and her partner bicker over it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this witty, worldly dramedy about a lesbian couple whose teenage children decide to acquaint themselves with their sperm-donor father deals frankly (and compassionately) with all of the complications that could arise in that situation -- including marital discord, infidelity, biological identity, nature vs. nurture, and letting go of a child on the brink of adulthood. Thanks to those themes and some other fairly mature content -- including partial nudity (breasts, buttocks) during sex scenes, clips from a pornographic movie, swearing, and teenage drinking and drug use -- The Kids Are All Right is best for older teenagers and adults.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17 year old Written byGina_ August 8, 2010

disappointed... Hopes dashed for a great Lesbian indie

HATE IT!! Steryotypical america that has a Lesbian cheating with a man, she is not remourseful of her 18+ year relationship. There are several a porn like sex... Continue reading
Parent Written bydricelo December 26, 2010
Teen, 16 years old Written bymardoggie2013 December 30, 2010

Oscar worthy, not for younger teens.

This is a wonderful comedy film, although it's for older, mature teens. Honestly, they've seen this material before, and they're at the age that... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMiranda B. February 4, 2013

A good watch for families with older, more mature teens.

The Kids Are All Right delves into a different side of the family story. It is enriching and entertaining to watch the struggles and triumphs of Nic and Jules... Continue reading

What's the story?

Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and her brother Laser (Josh Hutcherson) have never known their father's identity; their moms -- Nic (Annette Bening), a doctor, and Jules (Julianne Moore), a fledgling landscape artist -- used a sperm bank to get pregnant. Once Joni turns 18, Laser urges her to take advantage of her right to find out who the anonymous donor was. Nic and Jules are concerned, but they agree to meet the “bio-dad,” a free-spirited, organic-farming restaurateur named Paul (Mark Ruffalo). The introduction goes fairly smoothly, but a bumpy road lies ahead ... especially when Jules starts designing Paul’s backyard and the kids decide it’s time to get to know him better.

Is it any good?

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT is more than all right. It may be known for the fact that it's a movie about same-sex parenting, but beyond that, it's a smart, funny, and affecting look at modern-day relationships and the daily -- and, in this case, outsized -- pressures that erode their foundation. Parenting is exhausting, couplehood can be draining, and making messes is much too tempting. It’s difficult terrain no matter who's in your family.

Part of what makes the movie refreshing is that there are no villains here -- just adults and, to a lesser degree, teens trying to make sense of their complexities, desires, and confusions. In short, trying to be all right. The three leads show off their ferocious gifts with surety, and the kids -- Wasikowska, especially -- skillfully keep up. The script isn’t without its weak spots: What compels Jules to take up with Paul is a mystery, for instance (and no, his scruffy good looks alone don’t explain it). But that's a minor quibble.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the troubles that Nic and Jules face as parents and partners. What does the movie say about relationships and parenting?

  • What makes someone a good parent? How does the media typically portray parents? Do the parents in this movie seem more or less realistic to you than those in other movies/TV shows? Why?

  • How does the movie portray teen drinking and drug use? Are there consequences for the behavior? What do you think would happen in real life?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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