“The Kids Are All Right”
 
 
It is not too surprising that Hollywood would be on the vanguard of those advocating for societal acceptance of homosexual couples.  After all, anything goes in Tinseltown, where hedonism is good publicity, and no marriages last for very long, anyway, no matter which genders are involved.  So here are two very well-respected, talented, award-winning veteran heterosexual actresses who play a lesbian couple in a long-term relationship.  Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are thoroughly believable as Nic and Jules, even demonstrating casual affection, and plenty of intimate moments.  They’d both decided to have children “in vitro,” through a sperm-donor father.  Joni (Mia Wasikowska), Jules’ daughter, is a quiet, intelligent, achiever who has just been accepted into the “right university,” and plans to follow in her other Mom’s footsteps and be a physician.  Laser (Josh Hutcherson) is Nic’s son, and though he is outwardly compliant, he is beginning to hang out with the wrong neighbor kid and experiment with drugs.
Everything is over-dramatized and over-analyzed in this household.  Psychobabble abounds, as well as quick arguments, pointed pouting, abject apologies, and conversational restoration.   We talk about feelings here, a lot.  The kids call both women “Mom,” or even, collectively, “Moms.”  They act like it’s no big deal to have been raised by a lesbian couple:  for them, it’s all they’ve known.
The plot thickens when Laser decides he’d like to get in touch with his biological Dad.  Since Joni has just turned 18, she is able to call the sperm bank and ask for the biographical information.  Enter Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who seems to be perfectly happy in his protracted adolescence.  He’s never been married.  He’s never had children.  He runs a whole food restaurant combined with a little organic farm in his backyard.  He dates a very good-looking young hostess from his restaurant, who’s about the same age as his kids.  But wait, he doesn’t know anything about his kids.  Would he want to meet them?  And if he did, what would he say to them?
We’ve already done awkward, when the two Moms argue about who’s supporting whom, and who’s being supportive of whom.  But this is big-time awkward, as surrogate Dad and his two practically-grown children meet for the first time, trying to figure out if they have anything in common other than artificial biology.
Paul, obviously missing a sense of family in his own life, begins to befriend the kids, which threatens the matriarchy of Nic, and then, to further complicate matters, Jules surprises even herself by feeling some attraction for him.  Now we’re really getting into the sexuality debate:  is homosexuality hard-wired from birth, or a choice of lifestyle?  Are there bi-sexual people whose attractions could compel them either way, or is experimenting with the other gender mere situational curiosity? 
We don’t really have morals here, but instead we have indignation at such an egregious display of transfer of affection.  The kids get really confused when they see Nic and Paul flirting.  In fact, one of the unexplored areas of discussion is the kids’ potential confusion about their own sexual identity.  But as frank and stark as some of the sexual encounters are in this film, it’s just as well we’re dealing with adults, not teenagers. 
Yes, there’s humor, and pathos, and swearing and screaming, but there’s also a genuine attempt to lionize the LTR, as if that’s how people really find fulfillment, and not in serial escapades.  It’s an interesting little campaign agenda for a Hollywood so intent on defending personal choice that there’s literally no such thing as societal standards.  It’s just whatever you think is right for you.  At least here, though, there is the sure and certain acknowledgement, even after making a shipwreck of home life, that what we do with ourselves does, in fact, have an impact on those whom we love. 
It’s hard-edged, but it feels honest.  It’s not for the easily offended.  But people will be talking about this one.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas