Strange how a movie like this could creep out in the summer and then be highly considered for awards come the end but that’s what this film does. Sure the film features stellar performances from the cast, but the writing feels a tad bit stagnate at times and feels like it falls just short of what it wants to be. But enough about my brief thought let me go further into the film and explain.
The film is directed by Lisa Cholodenko, whose last work was on a 2005 episode of “The L Word.” Obviously she is very subtle in her approach to the art as she seems to be rather cautious in almost every aspect of her filmmaking ways. Each shot is natural and nothing out of the ordinary. So don’t expect anything Darren Aronofsky like from her in this film. Each shot follows the basic rules you learn in Film 101.
The story of the film follows a lesbian couple through the ups and downs of their relationship as they come to terms with their kids growing up and meeting their donor dad. . The film reaches plot twists as the youngest, Laser realizes his friend is a super douche, and the one lesbian has an affair with the donor. This climax shows the family falling apart but it seemingly all wraps up with a simple speech from Julianne Moore. There was no solution to the climax or the problem set out by said affair it just ends with everyone hating each other for a brief moment and then whoops we make up and take the eldest to college.
It feels like the writing got a tad bit lazy at the end or even throughout as to me it felt a bit slowly paced and the characters didn’t feel human at all. I’m not sitting here trying to say that I went in with a negative view, I wanted to enjoy this like everyone else did but it was hard. The writing and dialogue felt so stereotypical in most scenes and there were several shots that could have been left out all together.
A lot of people feel that both Annette Benning and Julianne Moore deserve Academy nods coming up but I have to disagree. While they did deliver strong performances it felt like something was missing. I could chalk it up to bad writing but that would be too easy. Josh Hutcherson was your stereotypical angsty teen who slowly matures into a less angsty teen though the film, but it was conveyed in a rather well done way, but still, it just felt like he was being himself (I don’t know how old he was). But what about all the rave reviews about Mia Wasikowska? Nope nothing there. She felt flat much like in her earlier film Alice in Wonderland. Mark Ruffalo another outstanding actor, just felt like he was smoking reefer all day and trying to be a younger hipper Jeff Bridges but that failed miserably.
My ultimate conclusion is this, this film is not as good as the critics are saying it is, having not seen a second of it or a trailer prior to viewing I can say I am not biased in anyway whatsoever. The entire film just felt forced and dragged on for the almost two hour running time. Yeah sure it had a good feel happy ending and a different take on the aspect of relationships but it still felt a bit out of place in the line of “good movies.” This film I’d have to give a low score of about 4/10 citing it’s weak writing as the big reason why I couldn’t get into it.