Lisa Cholodenko has a strong voice as a filmmaker, and I've been waiting for her to make the movie that would break her through to the mainstream success she deserves. "High Art" was a strong, sad little film that featured a career best performance from Ally Sheedy, and "Laurel Canyon" captured a certain type of malaise that sets in here in Los Angeles in a very knowing way. Still, both of those films were easily marginalized for one reason or another, and her last film, "Cavedweller," seems to have dropped onto DVD with little attention after a small festival run.
Thankfully, instead of following a career path I've seen play out so many times in the past, where early promise adds up to frustration and obscurity, Cholodenko showed up at Sundance this year with a new film, maybe the most personal she's ever made, and the real miracle of it is how she's finally made something this accessible by reaching into her own life. "The Kids Are All Right" is an incredibly clear-eyed look at who we are right now, and how the definition of "family" is changing, featuring a great cast, a wise and witty screenplay, and pitch-perfect direction. If there is any justice in the movie universe, this will not only make some real money for Focus Features, but it will also establish Cholodenko as a filmmaker who studios want to support.