Last weekend we watched The Kids are All Right with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. I had heard about the rave reviews (though hadn’t actually read any of them) and loved the concept of the movie, so I couldn’t wait to see it. During the movie, Mark kept giving me the what-the-heck-were-you-thinking-when-you-ordered-this glare and I reassured him by looking at Rotten Tomatoes that it was a 94%, Oscar-buzz movie. It had to be good!
Though my husband might disagree, I’d say from a watchability stand point it was a pretty good movie. It kept my attention and I was emotionally involved enough to want to know how it was going to end. But after it was all said and done, I found the whole thing offensive. Here are my reasons: **SPOILER ALERT**
1. It presented this idea that a Lesbian in her late 40’s or early 50’s, in a committed relationship of 25 years+, could suddenly just meet a man and be unable to resist the urge to have sex with him. Adultery aside, isn’t this a slap in the face to the whole idea of sexual orientation being a valued and real part of who we are??? I’m not even a lesbian and this just pisses me off!!!
2. The two mom characters were these excruciating stereotypes of the worst possible characteristics a woman could possess. One was air-headed, flighty, and emotionally needy. I mean seriously, she couldn’t even stay committed to her gayness after at least 40 years with it. The other one was this powerhouse, narcissistic, nagging bitch. She was so controlling and at times downright MEAN! If you can imagine any complaint a man could make about an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife one of these two characters illustrated it. I didn’t feel any camaraderie toward them at all.
3. The male characters were the only ones who had anything redeemable about them. Paul, played by Mark Ruffalo, starts out as this selfish-playboy-bachelor type who is given the opportunity to meet two children that were fathered using his sperm donation. Once he meets them he is miraculously transformed. He swoops in and saves the kids by giving them great advice about their lives. Then he starts having sex with Jules (one of the lesbian moms) and surprisingly falls in love with her. Although the sex thing was ultimately a bad move, you watch him grow and transform before you. In fact he does come across as a Prince Charming (even if it’s in a quite twisted way). The son, Razor, is also a very level-headed character. You watch him grow and change for the better through the course of the film too.
4. To me, the movie felt very out of touch with normal people and I get the feeling it intended to do just the opposite. Not only did it feed into negative stereotypes about women but it also did the same for upper-middle-class-intellectuals. Is that really how *normal* smart, rich people act??
I was listening to the radio this morning and heard that it had been nominated by the Academy for Best Picture and probably several other awards. That is really disappointing to me. What I felt while watching it was this underlying hatred toward women. I didn’t see any of the characteristics I love about the women in my life. I wanted to see something that was empowering to women and especially to Lesbians…unfortunately I didn’t find that at all in this movie. Worst part of it is it was written and directed by a woman. I sure wish we women would be nicer to our kind!!