as Nic in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (2010)
At the urging of her 15 year-old brother Laser, the now 18 year-old Joni makes contact with their biological father, Paul, who as a teenager himself donated his sperm to a cryo-bank. Their parents, same sex couple Jules and Nic, aren't quite sure what to make of it when they learn what their kids have done. Jules likes him far more than Nic who begins to feel that he is taking their family away from her. It all becomes very complicated when Paul and Jules begin sleeping together and Paul starts to fall for her.
"Yeah? Well I need your observations like I need a dick in my ass!"
Annette Bening received her fourth Oscar nomination playing Nic, a lesbian woman, married to Jules. She is hurt when the children decide to bring Paul, the sperm donor, into their lives, and worried that he will disrupt the family dynamic. Annette Bening gives a poignant performance that embarks the audience to live with her a great emotional journey. She reaches a very high level of emotional gravity with the ups
and downs of her character. There is a very intelligent progression in her interpretation, divided in three distinct phases, allowing her to show her wide range of skills. (1) When she appears the first time on screen, we get it. Jules is a very tough, bossy and confident lesbian woman. She is very secure in her job, very strong-minded. She is the one with responsibilities, she is the one who has to take care of the family and she likes that. She doesn’t like when things change or move on. Annette Bening personates at the perfection this side of her character. There are many things in her diction and her behavior which claim authority. (2) Then Mark, the sperm donor, comes in their life. She is automatically on the defensive. She is very disturbed, bewildered and affected by the fact that her children want to meet their “father”. Annette Bening managed to explore every corners of her character. She presents Nic as a real human being, not a caricature or a cliché. Everything comes naturally in her performance. She is very spontaneous and intuitive in her acting. (3) When Nic finds out that Jules was cheating her with Mark, her world falls apart. She becomes very emotional, angry, conflicted by many different feelings. She’s a strong woman and tries to hide her emotions, but she can’t. Annette Bening is very effective, she communicates her character’s pain very truthfully, and embarks the audience on an emotional roller coasters. Annette Bening is never on the same note. Her commitment and her understanding of her character is undeniable. She manages to convey all the emotions and the flaws of her character, without judgment. Her chemistry with Jules, played wonderfully and powerfully by Julianne Moore, is fresh, incontestable and evident. We can say the same thing with Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson. They are a family, they don’t play one.
"A smart, funny, insightful take on the dynamics of Modern Families. It taps into both the universal and specific dynamics of the family unit. Bening gives a career best performance."
- Channel 10 Australia
Despite her limited time on screen, Annette Bening gives one of her finest performances. She manages to fully develop her character’s personality thanks in part to a very well-written character and magical partners. She is poignant, spontaneous and natural.