Magazine August 2, 2010, Issue

Family Plot

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features)

Is it possible for Hollywood to make a movie about lesbian motherhood and sperm-donor fatherhood that isn’t just a preachy ode to the magic of alternative family structures? If you skim the rapturous reviews that have greeted The Kids Are All Right, a Californian comedy of manners in which a lesbian couple copes with the sudden intrusion of their children’s biological father into their domestic universe, you’d probably be inclined to answer in the negative. There’s a palpable smugness to the praise that Lisa Cholodenko’s film is garnering: Explicitly or implicitly, many of the movie’s admirers seem convinced that its

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