More ordinary than anything else is the behavior of the teenagers, an 18-year-old girl played by Mia Gasikowska (you may remember her from Alice in Wonderland), and a 15-year-old boy played by Josh Hutcherson. The writing for their scenes didn’t work for me. I got tired of hearing Gasikowska's character stomp around and declare, as though no one knew it, “I’m eighteen.” And Josh Hutcherson plays a slacker who is in fact pretty slack, even if he is a good basketball player.
The obvious comparison movie for The Kids Are All Right is Brokeback Mountain, which is a far better movie in large part because it has the great advantage of playing off the gay relationship against the still powerful myth of the heroic, i.e., straight, cowboy. It also has glorious photography of glorious scenery, the photography being an hommage to Ansel Adams.
So I would say that The Kids Are All Right is more historically important than dramatically powerful. I’m glad I saw it, glad that such wonderful actresses as Annette Benning and Julianne Moore agreed to play in it, and I’m glad that the suits who decide what gets made in Hollywood gave Lisa Cholodenko the money to make it. And I hope that those same suits gave Cholodenko the money to make her next movie, which will probably be extraordinary.