The film stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a long term lesbian couple who get an interesting new visitor to the family fold when their teenaged children decide to track down their previously anonymous sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo).
The film is co-written and directed by out lesbian Lisa Cholodenko, who also helmed the iconic sapphic indie High Art, as well as Laurel Canyon.
Last night, everyone got to look at a special behind-the scenes video on the making of this film, including some exclusive clips - and a few lucky folks even got free screening passes to see the film at the Arclight Hollywood next week. Everyone else grabbed the fabulous crew neck t's and tanks of the film, while the studio reps asked attendees to write down "what makes a family to you?" (see picts!).
The Kids Are All Right premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival - one of the most anticipated indie flicks there without a distributor attached. This lead to quite the feeding frenzy, with bids coming in from all the majors. Focus Features won out and payed the highest price tag of any film at Sundance this year - $7 million - and planned from the start to sneak this quirky family dra-omedy out during the big blockbuster summer months. Focus also released Brokeback Mountain.
With Entertainment Weekly recently reporting a sharp decline in ticket sales to big, blockbuster movies and franchises as compared to last year, Focus is hoping this film will sneak in and appeal to those looking for something NOT in 3D at the multi-plex and hopefully be a runaway hit like other Sundance alums Little Miss Sunshine and Juno - which also share this film's quirky, heart-felt style.
This is all good news for us gays who will be happy with the exposure that comes from two A-listers portraying a lesbian couple.
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore absolutely shine in this film. Folks - especially lesbians - will no doubt be debating who stole the show (I say Moore, most of my friends have said Bening), in what can best be described as an actor's piece. The directing style is naturalistic and allows all the performers to really settle into their characters and move about.
Bening plays Nic, a doctor who has a love of fine wine and a bit of a control issue. Her partner Jules, played by Moore, is more of a hippy-esque, earthy-crunchy lesbian who - having been tasked as the stay at home mom - now feels insecure and aimless as her kids are are at the cusp of leaving the nest. It's hard for Jules to succeed at any business or interest, with the perfect Nic there to always over-shadow her. This provides a fertile ground for what comes next when the kids bring their "donor-dad" into the household.
Mark Ruffalo plays Paul, the sperm donor. Paul is a bit of a man-child, who still enjoys his free-spirited bachelor ways while managing a successful organic restaurant in what looks to be Silverlake. He makes his own rules, and has probably managed to get away with that his whole life off his looks, charms and hard work.
After meeting the two teenagers, Paul realizes he's never made any connection to anyone, and this family seems to be the insta-fix for that, even though he has a girlfriend willing to take the leap with him.
What follows is an exercise in the gray areas of life, where you're never quite sure who the good guy is. Everyone in this movie - as in real life - makes mistakes. Hence the marketing of the film as a pitch-perfect family film - it's hard to imagine anyone's family not identifying with this posse - the couple may be lesbian, the issue may be donor-dad, but the touchstones of today's American family are the foundation for sure.
Lesbians are especially going to enjoy seeing the epitome of lesbianism displayed every five minutes or so - shockingly without ever even bordering on cliche.
As much as we can call this a "Lesbian film" or "Family film", you can throw in "Foodie Film" as well, as they're is so much screen time given to organic gardening, family cooking and wine, I was driven nearly to madness wanting to immediately rush home to plant my own tomatoes, peppers and spices.
The film is far from perfect, since I think it operates successfully on an intellectual level, but perhaps not in a traditional feel-good level in the narrative (people makes mistakes!). It does however have a wonderful, refreshing style to it - very naturalistic in it's shooting aesthetic, choice of locations and the dearth of movie-make-up on the leads. Also, one of my favorite parts is the most absolutely dead-on descriptions - deconstruction, if you will - of why lesbians like gay male porn that I have ever heard!
(pictured, my description of what family means to me)
Catch the trailer below after the party picts, then see the film July 9th (for god's sake, opening weekend would be nice - remember your ticket sale shows the Hollywood system that GAY sells!), and come back and share your thoughts.
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer