The flick is more than all right.

This is a cheer for review of the new indie flick The Kids Are All Right, helmed by Lisa Cholodenko, with Stuart Blumberg also sharing in the typing duties.

Oh, New Yorker. You're too hip.

Can a movie make you feel better?

Movies, like anything else, can be a form of drug–  love, sex, alcohol, music, chocolate, war, friendship, and of course drugs themselves.  You can use ’em (or, rather, attempt to use ’em) to alter your mood.

This past Saturday, for a variety of reasons we won’t get into here, I was in a crappy mood (yes, it happens, folks–  get over it), staring down the barrel of a day that wasn’t really going to get any better.  And in the afternoon I went to see the new indie flick (though since when do ‘indie flicks’ feature Bening, Moore and Ruffalo?!) by Lisa Cholodenko.

Now, I’ve only seen one other project she did (Laurel Canyon, which was an interesting but unfocused flick, to me), but the word I kept hearing from reviews and, of course, geeky film web sites, was ‘generous’.  How can a movie be generous?, I thought.

And I walked out with a big smile on my face, sure, for a few moments, that Everything was going to be Okay.

By far his best role since this little movie.

Here is a flick to be seen and celebrated!  Mark Ruffalo’s sperm-donor dad (by the way, I can’t think of another actor who can pull off this character; he’s not the villain per se, but he makes dubious choices, and of course Ruffalo invests him in a way you care) owns and operates an organic, locally grown restaurant, and it strikes me the movie is that kind of meal:  Nourishing, filling, it’ll stay with you and you won’t regret what you ate (unlike, say, our normal summer movie fare, that more resembles McDonalds or Burger King).  And generous, it turns out, is the right term–  the wry, observed, well-lived-in screenplay doesn’t judge its characters, all of whom are human, with all that implies, and what is so often missing in the movies.

Hello, Red.

Speaking of the powerhouse trio of Bening, Moore and Ruffalo (the latter two of my longtime favorite actors), boy, they have never been better.  Playing a mentally handicapped hooker or simpleton who won’t stop running is, of course, easier than playing real people, and here these three tremendous actors play Real People, and it’s arresting.  But how often do you stumble upon a film that supports them, that lives up to their performances?  Not often, friends.  I’ve used this blog, over the months, to trumpet various indie flicks, but this one stands above Solitary Man or I Am Love.  Though the title is, of course, a Who song, the flick itself is more taken with Joni Mitchell (who I’m listening to as I type this; who is not everyone’s cup of tea, which, yes, I’m drinking…  we digress), and it’s like Joni Mitchell:  Quirky, needy, loveable, difficult at times (in a pitch-perfect way) and, yes, generous.

It’s a mood, it doesn’t last–  I felt better, than I didn’t, than I did.  But go see this flick!  It’s the best lesbian parenting movie you’ll see all summer.


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