Thursday, February 3, 2011

Annette Bening in "The Kids Are Alright"

Annette Bening received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing Nic in The Kids Are Alright.

The Kids Are Alright is quite a mixed bag. On one hand, you have a terrific film with some excellent acting all around. But, on the other hand you have a very mediocre story that has it's ups and has it's downs. But, still it's an entertaining film that's perks outshines it's flaws. The story of a lesbian couple whose kids seek out their sperm donor father. He interrupts the already tense couple and cause them many problems that perhaps could have never happen.

Annette Bening plays the more practical woman, Nic. She hates the fact that her partner Jules has potential but chooses to float her way through life. She quietly drowns her sorrows and insecurities in drinking, and slowly she feels her world crumbling around her. Annette Bening wonderfully humanizes the character of Nic - she is wonderful in so many scenes, doing so much with her thin material. It's easy to see why she is being recognized for the performance because of that reason.

Nic isn't necessarily a shrill woman, but just more practical and logical thinking. It's not to say her partner Jules is out of her mind, but she is much more "free" living then Nic. Bening shows how her character cannot change - everytime she sets out to make a change, it never works for one reason or another. She brilliantly shows humor as well as emotional intensity, no matter what the scene calls for. Especially the entire dinner/confrontation sequence, this is arguably the best work Annette Bening has put her name on. A magnificently great performance that continues to impress me.

10 comments:

Malcolm said...

She was really impressive.

Maintaining a low-key but definitely smart and alert performance before the explosive "discovery scene." After that wonderful scene is a series of magnificently acted with her and Moore.

But I don't get why Moore didn't get much support? In my personal opinion, she was better than Bening. Or maybe. :)

Robert said...

Great writeup! I'm going to have to revisit this performance. I personally preferred Julianne Moore in the movie - what did you think of her? I also thought that Bening was better in her other movie this year, "Mother and Child".

Sage Slowdive said...

Julianne, was of course, fantastic. But, looking at the lineup, it's not an entire shame she missed out on a nom.

dinasztie said...

Interesting review of a great performance. It's excellent work by Bening and our thoughts are the same. Would you mind if she upset?

Could Natalie be the next one or you're gonna torture me and leave her last?

Sage Slowdive said...

I'll have to continue torturing you...

Based on the performance alone, I wouldn't mind it - I'm glad this isn't just another "career" performance that everyone praises based simply on Bening's overall career (which to me isn't that good).

dinasztie said...

I always felt that Bening was quite overrated. I cannot think of any amazing performances she gave, except for maybe American Beauty. She's very great at best.

Brandon (Twister) said...

Wow, I got the complete opposite reaction and the appeal for her work is completely lost on me; it's baffling. Moore is the one who should be in her place -- now there's a humanized characterization!

But luckily Natalie will probably win.

Deiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allen said...

I thought Bening did a fine job, though I didn't enjoy her as much as you did. In the end I was a little underwhelmed by the film and by Bening, just because I wish she had been onscreen a little bit more. I actually prefer Moore over Bening.

joe burns said...

The film was pretty mixed for me on 2nd viewing , and I found her character underwritten and appalingly unlikeabble, but I think Benning tried her hardest and there are some great moments. A four or three and a half from me.