Bening is marvelous, treating us to as fully-realized and lived-in a performance as she has ever given. With her short, spiky hair, squared-off, no-nonsense specs, crinkly eyes and easy smile, she lights up every scene she’s in. In this totally glamor-free role, every line on her face and furrow on her brow is right there for the whole world to see, but it suits the part perfectly (she is a bit of a worry-wart, after all).
As Jules, the homemaking half of the relationship whom Nic has to coax, basically, into her landscaping gig, Moore — with her oversized tee-shirts and flowing red hair — gives Bening a run for her money, and then some. And both of them are simply delightful in their scenes with their kids, ably played by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, who are as real, as believable, as movie kids get these days. The chemistry amongall of them is first-rate; these are people, you find yourself thinking, that you wouldn’t mind inviting to dinner.