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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.

Not to be confused with The Kids Are Alright, the similarly-named documentary about The Who, or The Kids Are Alright (2018), a Dom Com set in the 1970's.


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This film includes examples of:

  • Affair Hair: Unusually, it's found at Paul's house.
  • The Alcoholic: A slight case with Nic. While not full-fledged, Jules' reaction when she has more than one drink and the way her personality gets even more prickly indicates that she has a problem at the very least.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Both Nic and Jules wanted a kid biologically so they each carried and gave birth to a child (Nic for Joni; Jules for Laser) and they sought out the use of the same sperm donor so that both their kids would be related to one another.
  • And Starring: Josh Hutcherson gets this treatment in the OBB.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Laser Allgood.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Jules started an affair with Paul.
  • Bifauxnen: Nic is a not-so Butch Lesbian.
  • 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).
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  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: The three adults; Nic (blond), Paul (brunette) and Jules (redhead).
  • Big "OMG!": Jules after sharing a kiss with Paul, much to her confusion.
  • 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 bisexuality.
  • 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.
  • Cure Your Gays: What Nic fears Paul has done to Jules through an affair during their argument.
    Nic: (through tears) Are you straight now?
    Jules: No, it's got nothing to do with that!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Get Out!: Nic screams this after learning of Jules' and Paul's affair.
  • 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.
  • Heroic BSoD: Nic after finding Jules' hair in Paul's bathroom and shower and realizing that the two are having an affair.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Paul develops feelings for Jules, who is a lesbian.
    Paul: I think I'm falling for you.
    Jules: I'm so fucked.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: The lesbian Jules doesn't consider herself "straight" but enjoys having sex with Paul.
  • 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.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Jules uses this as one of her excuses when she reveals her infidelity to Nic. Although she enjoyed sex with Paul, she claims she has not "turned straight" and she still loves Nic. Unfortunately Paul has developed feelings for her.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Paul falls for Jules during their affair together and suggests that she leave Nic, take the kids and live with him. Jules is appalled by this suggestion.
  • Jerkass:
    • 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!
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Jules, who is more feminine than her wife Nic.
  • Love Triangle: Nic/Jules/Paul.
  • Manchild: 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.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Short-haired and abrasive Nic is clearly the "man" in the relationship, right down to her Tomboyish Name, the fact that she's the primary breadwinner in the family, and that Jules frequently complains about feeling neglected by her. Jules, conversely, is long-haired, slightly flaky—Nic cites multiple jobs or endeavors that she's taken on over the years—and as the neglected "woman", eventually has an affair.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Laser, by Nic and Jules. They're quite surprised to find out what he's actually been up to.
  • Mood Whiplash: Paul and Nic hit it off at dinner and finally, genuinely start to get along. . .then she realizes that he's been sleeping with Jules and it all goes to hell.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Nic and Jules named Joni after Joni Mitchell.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If Jules and Paul hadn't started an affair, Paul and Nic would have had gotten along longer and would still be a part of the family.
  • No Bisexuals: Jules insists that she's a lesbian even after she has sex with Paul several times.
  • 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 best friend is the one who lusts over Paul.
  • Those Two Guys: Jules has two best friends, 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.
  • Waxing Lyrical: As a sign of how Nic and Paul are getting along at the dinner, they start singing "All I Want" together.
  • 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.

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