This is the 4th time Annette Bening has been nominated for an acting Oscar, and it looks like she'll probably lose again, this time to Natalie Portman (Black Swan)--though there are a few prognosticators who feel like an upset is possible. Bening plays Nic, a lesbian wife and mom and doctor. Her partner, Jules (Julianne Moore), is more bohemian and is perennially jobless, so Nic ends up being the breadwinner and decision-maker of their California household. They have each given birth to a child by way of the same anonymous sperm donor, so the kids are half-siblings who share the same unknown father. Joni is 18, played by Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Alice in Wonderland) and her younger brother, Laser, is 15, played by Josh Hutcherson.
Laser decides he wants to know who his father is, but he needs the help of his older sister to find out because you have to be 18 years old or the fertility clinic won't talk to you. They end up meeting him, Paul (Mark Ruffalo, nominated for Supporting Actor), after all, and things click. They click especially well with Joni, who is about to move away to college, but even Laser comes around. This all causes tenstion in the family, because Nic feels threatened by the new parental influence on her kids--and because Jules starts spending so much time over at Paul's house.
My Mom is right, on the one hand: This sort of story, portraying a lesbian couple as nothing short of completely normal American parents, serves to further mainstream homosexual behavior (decidedly a bad thing). On the other hand, though, it is that very dynamic that makes this particular story work. If the parents weren't lesbians, the film would have been mediocre and borning--but as it is, it was surprisingly watchable and enjoyable, if also off-beat and sometimes gross. We really didn't know how the story was going to end, and that suspense always makes for a decent movie. And by "decent" I mean well-acted and well-written. If you're like us, you have to find a way to see beyond the pornography, profanity, drug use, and so on. The characters portrayed here are, as in most Hollywood productions, completely godless.
This is not the Best Picture of 2010. And we certainly don't think it is one of the top ten, either. But we liked it better than we thought we would.