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:
- Paul is vegan, much like his actor Mark Ruffalo.
- Affair Hair: Unusually, it's found at Paul's house.
- All Lesbians Want Kids
- And Starring: Josh Hutcherson gets this treatment in the OBB.
- Awesome McCoolname: Laser Allgood.
- Billed Above The Title: In the film's actual OBB, the actors who played the three main adults got this treatment. The movie poster, however, puts the five main leads in this manner (see page image).
- Blond Brunette Redhead: The three adults; Nic (blond), Paul (brunette) and Jules (redhead).
- 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.
- Chick Magnet: The ladies sure love Paul. Even the not straight ones.
- Cool Bike: Paul owns one.
- 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.
- Farm Boy: Paul owns a farm that produces organic fruits and vegetables.
- Four Philosophy Ensemble: Nic is The Cynic, Jules is The Conflicted, Paul is The Optimist, Joni is The Realist and Laser is The Apathetic.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Nic is Choleric, Jules is Melancholic, Paul is Sanguine, Joni is Leukine and Laser is Phlegmatic.
- 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...
- Granola Girl: Paul encourages the other characters to go green.
- Guy on Guy Is Hot: Nic and Jules like to watch gay porn together. Laser finds out. They have a hard time explaining it.
- Has Two Mommies: The film's main setting.
- 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.
- Clay. He tries to pee on a dog.
- 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 realizes 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.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Nic and Jules named Joni after Joni Mitchell.
- 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.
- The One Guy: Laser is the only male in his family.
- 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.
- Stacy's Mom: Inverted. Joni's bestfriend is the one who lusts over Paul.
- Those Two Guys: Jules has two bestfriends, a guy and a girl. Of the two, the girl acts as her Bromantic Foil and The Lancer while the guy is nothing but a Satellite Love Interest.
- 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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Joni has a whole romantic subplot that is never really resolved.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Laser.
- Your Cheating Heart: Jules, with Paul. Ultimately becomes the film's main conflict.