THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: When it comes to the issue of gay marriage, I’ve always felt that homosexuals have the right to get hitched and be just as miserable as any heterosexual couple. Heaven knows that the lesbian parents (Annette Bening, Julianne Moore) in this smart, independent movie encounter their share of challenges when their teenage kids (Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska) make contact with their biological father/sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo). When the inevitable complications and romantic triangle arise, they do so at a juncture in the narrative when this unconventional family seem perfectly conventional since they share the same problems that always come when two generations of people live under the same roof. For this reason, I think it would be an injustice to label this work as “a gay movie” because it’s so much more than that. It’s definitely an actor’s film and the performances by the ensemble cast are all excellent with special attention going to Moore (CHILDREN OF MEN) as one of those lack-of-direction souls on a continuing quest to find themselves. Despite a rather clunky and intrusive musical score as well as a few shaky scene transitions, KIDS benefits from the depth and range of the characters as drawn by screenwriters Stuart Blumberg and director Lisa Cholodenko (HIGH ART). Because of its homosexual theme and strong sexual content, this movie would probably not appeal to anyone put off by such material. (You Southern Baptists know who you are.) Those who aren’t will find this movie to be alternately funny and touching with a somewhat different perspective on family life, love and marriage. CRITIC’S GRADE: B

CRITIC’S NOTE: My all-time favorite “closeted”homosexual movie moment occurs in the classic John Wayne western RED RIVER (1948). In one scene, a cowboy (John Ireland) handles another wrangler’s sidearm and makes the observation that “There are only two things more beautiful than a good gun. A Swiss watch, or a woman from anywhere.” After a brief pause, Ireland (ALL THE KING’S MEN) asks, “You ever had a Swiss watch?”