Kate Clinton

The Kids are So-So

Filed By Kate Clinton | July 28, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Annette Bening, artificial insemination, John Waters, Julianne Moore, lesbian movie, The Kids Are Alright

On Sunday night, my galpal and I joined a sold-out crowd of moviegoers to see the much-anticipated The Kids Are Alright at the tiny Ptown Theater. The a.c. was a bonus.

thekidsareallright-still.jpgThe crowd at the early show was mostly Well of Loneliness era women in pairs and posses. Quite frankly, I was looking forward to seeing Annette Benning (love her) and Julianne Moore getting it on. A lot. My biggest worry before the movie was that one of the lesbians goes straight. That should have been the least of my worries.

The film is wonderfully acted and expertly shot but for me that didn't make up for the story line that seemed more conventional because I was sitting next to the unconventional John Waters. He thought it was a decent sitcom. My other seatmate started fidgeting, then harrumphing and finally yelling on the bike ride home, "For this we waited in line? And for thirty years? I'm a lesbian and I hated that movie." A woman on the street stopped her and said she hated it too and sent her this link.

Since I have friends who are filmmakers, writers and directors, and know what they have to go through to get anything made and distributed, I am not an immediate critic of the movie I've just seen. I appreciate that it even exists for a few hours and then I get critical.

So I'm glad that Lisa Cholodenko got her film made. But the film got made because it did not rock anyone's world or challenge any racial or gender stereotypes. The only good sex with skin was straight. Long-term same-sex coupling and parenting was shown to be just like as same-old-sex coupling and parenting. The lesbians were of course virtually sexless. Mothering is smothering. Even absent fathers do it better. Despite a CA-CODA-speak script, everyone was on an AlAnon slip. Women, even lesbians, fall for guys just because. Because they watch gay male porn? Try The L-Word. The portrayal of people of color was annoying. The kids would really be alright if they went to a COLAGE meeting, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere.

If TKAA pissed you off, I recommend Angelina Jolie in Salt. Pretend she's a lesbian.

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Cholodenko jumped the shark... just like L Word & "Real" L Word Chaiken. Maybe it's a lezzie names that begin w/ "ch" syndrome?

"The only good sex with skin was straight." Then it really is the lesbian Brokeback!

Women, even lesbians, fall for guys just because.

Except that the writer has described Jules as being in the middle on the Kinsey scale.

While the movie may not have challenged any racial or gender stereotypes, it sounds like it did a damn fine job of challenging those that think attraction is rigid and defined along one of two parallel paths. Cholodenko has a history of writing sexually fluid characters and i hope she keeps it up.

Not having seen the film, I can't say for sure but from the reviews it doesn't seem like the movie did an open or clear commentary on fluidity. Instead it looks like the tired "All a lesbian needs is to find the right man and she'll be fine" trope. Or at least, "There are no lesbians, just women who haven't found the right man".

This is why it does pay to see the film before making such surmises. I'm not a fan of the film, but if you saw the film you'd know that fucking a man isn't offered as a way to straighten her out. Almost the opposite, in fact. Moore's character states quite definitely that sex with a man does not make her straight.

It's an uninteresting film for a million reasons, but let's not begin to make erroneous critical evaluations without even having seen it.