I have a huge crush on Mark Ruffalo. He does not disappoint. His charm comes from that gruff voice of his, and his natural, chilled out, thoughtful way of behaving.
The children in the movie are superb especially some very strong scenes with the boy named Laser played by Josh Hutcherson and Ruffalo. The writing of these scenes is just right. Cholodenko, the director, and her screenwriter partner have created a mostly believable script.
I found the character played by Annette Bening to be unlikeable from the get go. She is either strident, drunk, or weeping. It would be nice if we knew what the lesbian couple actually saw in each other. They don't really work in a believable way. They are constructs. Julianne Moore needs to be in more Paul Thomas Anderson movies. She has been cast badly lately and I wonder if it has to do with her age. Same goes for Bening.
I did find myself laughing occasionally. The movie is not hard to watch. But it has been overpraised probably because there is so little quality to be had during the summer.