The Kids Are All Right

PidgeSeptember 25, 2010

Out for lunch with a friend yesterday and this film came up in conversation. I think the best thing I can say about it is that is "all right." It's about a lesbian couple who each has a child by the same sperm donor--different moms, the same dad. It's ironic that a film that tries to show that a marriage between lesbians is not much different from a marriage between a man and a woman actually reinforces a lot of stereotypes. First, it's definitely a situation in which one of the women plays the "husband" (she makes the money) and the other the "wife" (the stay-at-home who is really not encouraged to move beyond that by her partner). Second, while the lesbians are frequently potrayed in romantic situations, they are never portrayed actually having sex--well, once, but it turns out to be a dud. Guess the audience is supposed to think "poor things, they can't get it right." However, when one partner becomes sexually involved with the sperm donor dad, the screen is practically smoking with their gyrations. He really thinks this means the lover will abandon her partner of many years and run off with him--you know, all she needs is a good you-know-what and she'll turn straight. I did like the ending--love wins and the kids really are all right--but there were a lot of missed chances to really investigate same-sex marriage. That's an issue for our time and maybe this is just a first attempt to tackle it in a mainstream Hollywood film rether than an indie.

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krista_marie(5)

Thanks for the review. We went to see Agora, but The Kids Are All Right was our back up movie if Agora had been sold out.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:26AM
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mwoods

Good having lunch with you yesterday Pidge and discussing films. LOL If I had gone into this film thinking it was going to be just a fluffy,neat little story,I would have really liked it,but with the stellar cast and subject matter, I guess I just expected it to be more meaningful for some reason. Annette Benning is always amazing and she sure did a great job with this one.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:42AM
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rob333

Sad: that it didn't go further with the subject matter

Happy: you two saw each other! Fantastic. (((smiles)))

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:29PM
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batyabeth

Hey there Pidge!! I haven't seen the movie yet (ticket prices are steep), though your critiques are usually right on and I'll take your word for it that the makers fell short. No surprises there. You'd be amazed how often most folks haven't a clue to how couples like us are just the same, nor how we're different, than straight couples, and certainly Hollywood depictions are for the most part, well, odd. It's less a missed chance than a wishful desire to hang onto stereotypes, which if abandoned would force people to change both their personal and their political choices. Thanks again for a right-on viewpoint, as you are a right-on gal! And so envious of that kaffeklatch..... Batya

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 12:36PM
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Pidge

Speaking of sterotypes, Batya: the heterosexual sex is wild and romping, lots of flesh and heavy breathing, the lesbian "sex" is one partner (fully dressed) giving the other a footrub while the latter is in a bathtub surrounded by scented candles (this is interrupted by a phone call) and a bizarre scene in which the only way the lesbians can get it on is with a porno video and a sex toy--and this is also coitus interruptus. This film is definitely not imagining outside the box.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 3:11PM
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west_gardener

I have not seen the film, but good or bad, I'm glad it was made in the first place. From what I've seen, there has been an all out war and percecutions against gays in the last few years. Keep getting the funding and get your message out.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Pidge

Your point is well-taken, west, and I should have noted what I also found to be of value in the film, and that is that the subject is broached at all in the culture wars that demonize any alternative to heterosexuality, and that the two women portrayed are totally committed to each other and to their kids. (SPOILER) Perhaps the most significant aspect of the film is the dismissal of the "straight dad" at the end and the regrouping of the family around the women at its core.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:25PM
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west_gardener

I'm sad at "the dismissal of the "straight dad" at the end."
I'm also sad about, this was not in your post,Pidge, it's my own opinion, gay fathers loosing their parental rights.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:43PM
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mwoods

Well..the straight dad was getting it on with one of the gay mothers of his kids. Pidge,I don't think the mothers were totally committed..at least not by my definition of a relationship,or one of them wouldn't have jumped in bed with good old straight dad.The more I think about this film the less I like it.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:05PM
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Pidge

I think the one who jumping in bed with sperm donor dad was feeling diminished by her spouse who was playing the "I'm the breadwinner thus the boss" role--very much a stereotype of how marriages have often worked. But I think when it all blows up she gets her head back on and so does the bossy one. So I agree that in the beginning the relationship is pretty rocky but I didn't feel that way at the end. I was very glad to see the last of sperm donor dad.
And I agree that any dad losing parental rights is not a good thing, especially if all responsibilities are being fulfilled. But that's another story.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 5:47AM
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mwoods

Ok..show of hands. How many of you want to see this film now that you've read all this?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:47AM
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Pidge

Good question, Marda. I don't know what I'd do myself: check it out to see if the review was accurate, or cross it off the list. Probably the latter. There are so many good films, there's no need to bother with a questionable one. But maybe my curiosity would pull me into a theater.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:09AM
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mwoods

You know,just a cast alone entice me to see a film and this particular group of people were wonderful in their roles.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Pidge

Yup, I rarely miss a Johnny Depp movie even when it's directed by Tim Burton. I'm even going to the Helen Mirren film that's on its way in which she's an assassin. Talk about a change of pace.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 11:06AM
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mawheel

I don't go to the movies too often and I know that this is one I won't go to see.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:58PM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

I see very few movies to begin with. I had seen a preview for this movie, and filed it in the "Light fluffy romantic comedy that I don't need to see" mental slot. After reading your review and ensuing discussion, I'd probably avoid it... even if it were on a short list of available movies on a transcontinental flight and I'd forgotten a book.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 4:37PM
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Pidge

The good thing about transcontinental flights is that they have a menu of films. And then you could just sleep if you'd rather.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 5:35PM
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