I had recently watched the Directors Cut wherein Lisa Cholodenko discusses the mosaic of family and how she wanted to present a personal story that is relevant to many. I liked her film "Laurel Canyon" and so decided to give this a chance, it has been buried with other blockbuster films in 2010, but this film is worth a second look.
Basically Annette Bening is Nic, and Jules (Julianne Moore) is her wife. They had Joni, their daughter through artificial insemination. Mi Kiawolska is good here as Joni, understated and not high drama, she just wants to meet her "biological" dad. The actor playing Laser, the son is good in a small scene where Ruffalo mentions he doesn't like his friend, then Laser realizes his friend is abusive to a stray dog.Laser drops the friend as a result.
Mark Ruffalo is the biological donor. He plays the role of a somewhat disaffected but successful restaurant owner, he becomes attached to Joni as he realizes one thing in his life missing: basic family.
There are some humorous scenes with Jules (Moore) and Ruffalo as they become sexually attracted. She is unfaithful to "Nic" and Annette Bening is very good in this role, a counterpoint to roles I have seen her play in the past. Her look and cadence is believable, she is simply a life partner to Jules who wants to keep the family together. There are sensitive, real moments of caring, even in her non-verbal acting here. I was surprised at how good it was.
Please don't dismiss this film as just another trendy indie film. It has some very nice moments to it, and is a human story everyone who has ever loved anyone in a difficult marriage, or relationship can understand.
Of particular note, is the performance by Ruffalo (insensitive but trying to change in middle age). When his sometime bed partner wants to spend some time hooking up he finally says: ..."I don't want to be another 50 year old man just doing, you know" ...and the dialog rings true.
Also Moore, as a somewhat airy, but loving person who wants to do something for a career in "landscape design" but ultimately falls into more of a passive role, as Bening (Nic) is the breadwinner.
It is a good film, and not predictable or trite and saccharine. Recommended. 10/10.
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