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The Kids are Whatever

July 10, 2010

About a month and a half ago I attended a special screening of “The Kids Are All Right” followed by a Q&A session with writer-director Lisa Cholodenko. I was excited about it in the days leading up, thinking I had earned VIP privileges, and that I’d be way ahead of the world. I probably should have written this while the film was still fresh in my mind, though I still remember exactly which aspects of the film left a bad taste in my mouth.

It has amazing potential but I think it flopped really hard. A lot of mainstream media is giving it rave reviews for its groundbreaking and original content. Side note: Portraying a lesbian relationship as a real relationship is not praiseworthy. We’re past that. I don’t think we should have to sacrifice decent content as we wait for the rest of the world (straight audiences) to catch up to us. Call me an angry man-hater, but those sex scenes between Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo were awfully exaggerated, whether or not the director intended for them to evoke nausea in viewers.

The film should not be hailed as a cure-all for the representation of gays in media, and I fear that’s exactly what has been happening in numerous publications. I think straight moviegoers will give themselves a pat on the back for enjoying this kind of film, for opening up and “understanding” the experiences of certain same-sex relationships. That’s not the kind of progressive film I want to see. That’s not progressive to me. That’s handpicking two actresses who would make a good poster family for the advancement of the Gay Agenda to make the rest of us look normal.

During the Q&A at the screening I attended, most of those who spoke out offered uninterrupted praise — variations of “thank you for finally telling our story and taking this huge step.” Undoubtedly, the path to equal rights relies on acceptance from straight yuppie voters, but I can’t feel okay about pandering to that audience. And one woman stood up and asserted that she was very disturbed by those sex scenes, and the director acted as though she couldn’t understand how one viewer in a theatre full of queers could receive it that way.

Plainly, I couldn’t bear to watch a cisman in action in what has been touted as some revolutionary lesbian film. I know it’s fiction, and it’s drama, but god.

I haven’t given this much thought before, but I’m so uncomfortable with normalizing queer culture. If equal rights comes by way of assimilation, I will choose assimilation, but I don’t want to.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2010 6:13 AM

    As a queer woman I was just talking to my gay male friend about how I’m excited about seeing this movie cuz I want it to live up to the potential it offers. And then as we were saying it aloud our faces fell as it dawned on us that it could also fall horribly short of all that potential. Glad to hear Hollywood is still Hollywood and it will disappoint.

  2. July 11, 2010 11:32 AM

    There is a lot of potential but that’s why it fell so hard for me. My expectations were way up there — the trailer looked hilarious and I couldn’t stop thinking about how nice it was that these A-listers would be representing “us,” and then I realized that it is not at all a representation of anyone I know. I’m curious to know how older folks received it, because I can’t imagine how any second-wave feminists could enjoy it, either.

    Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were really good in it, though. Have to give credit where credit is due!

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