It’s getting to be that time – Golden Globes coming this weekend; non-stop awards season chatter until February. I happened to be watching LAUREL CANYON the other night, and seeing Christian Bale in that 2002 Lisa Cholodenko flick; I started thinking about these two artists, then and now. They currently exist in the same universe once again for said upcoming awards madness, as Bale makes a hard Method-acting hit with THE FIGHTER and Cholodenko goes the emotional distance with THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. Both artists have made enviable progress in their careers since they were splashing around the pool in LAUREL CANYON (well, Bale splashed; Cholodenko ostensibly was at the monitor, poolside). While Bale has continued to take his craft outward, going beyond his typical detached cool-guy role (think AMERICAN PSYCHO), Cholodenko has successfully traveled even further in, going deeper into the modern American psyche with regard to family and love. Outward and inward – it’s inspiring.
When director Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT debuted at the festival, it sparked audience enthusiasm so great it was matched only by one of Sundance’s most intense bidding wars ever. Eventually snapped up by Focus Features, KIDS went on to win Best Feature at Berlin International Film Festival’s Teddy Awards. It also topped…
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT really stayed with me. As in, I kept thinking about the situations, hearing those characters’ voices, and seeing globs of hair in my own shower drain. (That’s not a spoiler, and hopefully inspiring the curiosity of the disgusting and weird in those who’ve not yet seen the film – only movie I know in which drain hair plays a key role.) And seeing those women, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. What do I see? Hair on the legs on Julianne, no make up on Annette, wrinkles on both. And you know what? It’s awesome.
It’s funny how movies get lumped together. Just before seeing Lisa Cholodenko’s new film THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, I overhead a friend recommending it to his skeptical mother by saying “No, really it’s good. It’s not another GREENBERG.” Meaning, I suppose, that like GREENBERG it stars the ponderous middle-aged bourgeoisie in a film that is essentially composed of a series of conversations. Unlike GREENBERG, however, the conversations in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT actually seem to accomplish something. And as an added bonus we aren’t stuck for a whole film with one small, angry man but with an entire nuclear family, off-balance though they may be.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2010
It’s easy to see why Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT has scored the biggest distribution deal to date at this year’s Sundance. (Focus Features acquired it for a reported $5 million.) Enthusiastically received at its packed premiere on Monday night, this lively crowd pleaser appears to take a conventional form (family dramedy) and give it an unconventional spin (it’s about what you might call a modern family).