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