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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Many uses of words including "bitches," "ass," "s--t," "f--k," "d--k," "p---y," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), and "hell."
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.