main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: The Kids Are All Right

A 2010 independent Dramedy film about a lesbian couple, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), and their teenage children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). The children decide that they want to meet their anonymous sperm donor, a guy named Paul (Mark Ruffalo), whose relationship with each of the four members of the family zigzags throughout the course of the film.

The film was a breakout hit at Sundance and ultimately nominated for Best Picture. No connection to the similarly-named documentary about The Who.

This film includes examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Inverted.
  • Affair Hair: Unusually, it's found at Paul's house.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids
  • Awesome McCoolname: Laser Allgood.
  • But Not Too Gay: compare the way gay and straight sex is depicted
    • Hilariously since one part of the nominally gay couple is having straight sex she comes across as in the closet...about her heterosexuality.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the movie it is established that Jules has a tendency to leave hair in drains.
  • Cringe Comedy: Not too badly, but there are a lot of awkward moments.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Jules, though she may have decided to do so herself.
  • Fake American: Australian Mia Wasikowska as Joni, though you can't really tell.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Both Nic and Jules.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: Deconstructed. Paul has never been a part of the kids' life until the events of the film, but to some (ambiguous) extent he sees himself, and they see him, as some sort of parental figure. Nic doesn't like this. Eventually, though, she accepts her children's desire to know their biological father. Until other things get in the way...
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Nic and Jules like to watch gay porn together. Laser finds out. They have a hard time explaining it.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Nic has a bit too much to drink when she has to deal with Paul's interactions with the kids.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: When Jules and Paul have sex for the first time, they're interrupted by her Hispanic gardener calling for her.
  • Jerk Ass: Nic, to a certain extent. Her uncomfortableness with Paul is understandable, but it doesn't really make her that much more of a likable character
  • Lampshade Hanging: A not-so-subtle wink to the audience when Jules and Nic explain to their son why they don't watch lesbian porn.
    Jules: You would think that. But in most of those movies, they've hired two straight women to pretend and the inauthenticity is just unbearable.
    Nic: (cutting her off) Okay, that's enough!
  • Man Child: Paul, who grows during the film as he realises that he would really like to have kids and a proper family. He shouldn't try to wrangle himself the ready-made one Nic and Jules have though.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Laser, by Nic and Jules. They're quite surprised to find out what he's actually been up to.
  • No Bisexuals: Jules insists that she's a lesbian even after she has sex with Paul several times.
  • Nobody over 50 Is Gay: Averted, or close to it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Laser's friend Clay doesn't appear during the second half of the film, and the question of his being a bad influence is never resolved.
    • Laser figures this out for himself, when he doesn't let Clay pee on the dog and Clay punches him.
    • Joni has a whole romantic subplot that is never really resolved.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Jules says she wants a cigarette, after having sex with Paul, though she doesn't smoke anymore. However, he doesn't have any.
  • The Unfair Sex: Paul and Jules have an affair. First, it's implied to be Nic's fault (who, as breadwinner, is apparently the "man" in the relationship) for not being attentive enough to Jules' needs. Then, when it's discovered, Jules is eventually forgiven while it now becomes all Paul's fault—he's shunned and treated like dirt by everyone, including Jules, who acts downright disgusted that he genuinely wants to be with her. The affair was wrong on all sides but Paul didn't deserve to have all of the blame dumped on him.
    • The exiled to the couch implies that Jule's and Nic's relationship has suffered to some degree and the ending makes it clear the main couple have some issues to work out.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Laser.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jules, with Paul. Ultimately becomes the film's main conflict.

InceptionAcademy AwardThe Social Network
Justice League: Crisis on Two EarthsFilms of the 2010sThe Killer Inside Me

alternative title(s): The Kids Are All Right
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy