The Kids Are All Right

 
(i)

 

Mature, witty family dramedy explores love, parenthood.
  • Review Date: July 4, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
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.

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.

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
\

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT 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 the movie? It’s still all right. It’s more than all right.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:July 9, 2010
DVD release date:November 16, 2010
Cast:Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo
Director:Lisa Cholodenko
Studio:Focus Features
Genre:Drama
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong sexual content, nudity, language and some teen drug and alcohol use

This review of The Kids Are All Right was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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 they are mature enough to look beyond it and see a well done film.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byOGORMAN 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's family. The casting choices were perfect, including: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Josh Hutcherson (he has always been one of my favorite actors, very cute too). The language was strong but perfectly poised and placed in the proper instances (not used senselessly). The main thing to look out for with this film is definitely the sexual content. There is plenty of sex between multiple characters and breasts are visible at times. At one point two teens find a vibrator, which is briefly shown, and a pornographic movie from which bits and pieces are shown. Early on in the movie, these same teens are seen snorting a crushed pill. There is also teen drinking at a party though it is only briefly viewed. A woman appears to, at times, drink a little bit too much. This causes bickering between her and her partner. Laser (Josh Hutcherson) and Jonie (Mia Wasikowska) sometimes push against the limit with their moms, but they still all love each other. I don't know if I would watch this more than once, but if you are considering watching, I encourage you to do so.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byjorgeal95 January 14, 2011
 

Funny, but the dark type

It was good. Bening gave a pretty good and, at times, hilarious perfomance, as did Moore. This is a movie about bringing someone into your life and how much they can change your family's life. I would see it again. Some semi-comic, clear sex scenes. Messages aren't good as adultery is depicted. Very much meant for older audiences, but I have a mature mind for a 15-year-old (as of January 2011). As stated before, it depends on the maturity level of the viewer. Worth watching overall.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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