Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Actress 2010: Annette Benning in The Kid's All Right

Annette Benning received her 4th Oscar nomination for playing Nic, a lesbian doctor who feels that her family is falling apart due to her children's discovery of they're sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) .

I've now seen The Kids Are All Right three times, and the first I found it good, the 2nd time bad, and the third time, good, but flawed in a lot of respects. It's flawed because the script is trying to tell us that people have natural urges.feelings but it comes across as random and just doesn't work. Paul, Lazer (the son), and Joni (the daughter) are all rather one-dimensional, though the actors try they're best.

Which leads me to Annette Benning. Her performance has been very mixed with me, but now I have some newfound respect and admiration for her work. First of all, the most impressive thing about it is that bshe puts so much energy and effort into her performance. Nic is a very talkative character, and Benning has so much presence on screen. One thing that worked with me that didn't before was she and Julianne Moore. They're chemistry is fantastic, both are believable as a couple, and they're scenes are the best in the movie. During the middle of the film, Benning subtly shows Nic's need for control, and how angry she is that Paul is seeming to be taking control of her life. She also does great in her humorous scenes too. But her best moment is when she is singing at the dinner table: We're finally seeing her let loose, and Benning nails this scene.

The problem with Benning's performance is that though she tries her absolute best, the material just doesn't give her a strong enough character. It could have been amazing, if only the script had given her a more three-dimensional character. It's like the scrript is a box entrapping Benning inside: She's pushing with all her might to get out, but she just can't. Julianne Moore though gets a more developed character and and is able to be excellent as well. Both could have been amazing with a much better movie. But I still find her extremely impressive, but I just can't really love it. She gets


Louis Morgan said...

I thought she was good although not amazing really. Her character is not overly complex but she does a lot of good for it nonetheless.

joe burns said...

I agree, though I guess I liked it a little more. But what did you think of Moore?

Brandon said...

I felt that she didn't convey the love and affection she had for Jules so it doesn't make sense why she wants her so badly. I get that she's a control freak, but Bening conceals to much and the character ends up being a unsympathetic, shallow bitch that we don't understand. But in the ending she's treated as a freaking hero while Paul gets no redemption and We can't decide for ourselves because the film won't let us.

dinasztie said...

I agree. I was a bit tough on her but she's quite good.

joe burns said...

Twister: I see where you"re coming from, they did,sort of make Paul stupider then was believable at the end. But I felt she did an impressive job, it was just bad material.

Dinastie: glad you agree!