Film Corner!

So. There's this new movie coming out with two of my favorite actresses, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, called The Kids Are All Right. I would love to be drooling over this film, but, yeah, not so much:

[Transcript provided courtesy of Quixotess is below. Thanks, Q!]

As always, I am not discussing the film per se; I'm discussing the trailer, and what I perceive the film to be based on how it is being represented by its own marketing.

What I'm seeing here is a story that looks basically to be about how lesbian parents aren't good enough, especially for sons. Such interesting messaging about mothers in our culture, yes? Mothers should be the primary parent and are frequently deemed uniquely responsible for children's emotional health and growth, and fathers are so firmly on the parenting periphery that they're said to "babysit" their own children, because Mothers! Are! Everything! unless and until there is no father in orbit around a child, and then mothers, even two of them, are Totes! Not! Enough!

Which is not to say that a father's abandonment (or death, or neglect) is not serious. Because it is. But there is a firm difference between the absence of a father where a father has been and the absence of a father in a family which there was never the expectation one would exist. This is a distinction this movie does not appear to be making.

But I suppose that's a lot to expect from a film that also appears to suggest that lesbians need a man to help fix their relationship. Woof.

Bonus Points: Lesbians not played by lesbians! Again, I love Annette Bening and I love Julianne Moore, but I also love Jodie Foster, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi, Ellen Degeneres, Lily Tomlin, Meredith Baxter, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O'Donnell, Judy Gold, Kelly McGillis, Amanda Bearse, Paula Poundstone, Sara Gilbert, Heather Matarazzo, Tammy Lynn Michaels, and Clementine Ford. Just off the top of my head.

Were they all busy?
[Note: Most characters aren't actually named in this trailer. I assigned the blond parent "Mom" and the redhead one "Mother," because they're both mothers and need to be distinguished from one another.]

[In the living room of a middle-to-upper class house, a teenage boy is standing; his mothers are sitting together on the couch.]

Mom: Hey bug, don't be back late!
Teenage Son [rolls eyes]: I know, I know.
Mother: Come give us a hug before you go!
Mom: Hugs!
Son [gesturing angrily to Mom]: Give her a hug! That's what she's there for!

[Card: TWO KIDS]

[On porch/deck of the house] Son: Have you thought more about making that call?
Daughter: That could really hurt Moms' feelings. [this is supposed to be funny]
[Daughter paging through file, page says "Donor Essay."]
Son: How can you not even be curious about it?

[Card: TWO MOMS]

Daughter [on phone with a man] Two of my moms had a kid, with your sperm.
Man: Like in both of them?
Daughter: Uh-huh, like in gay.
Man: Right on! Cool, I love lesbians.
Daughter: Great.


Mom [to Mother]: I get it. He's their biological father and all that crap. Like we're not enough or something?

Man [in residence that is meant to make him look irresponsible and deviant, what with him being shirtless and holding a glass of alcohol, oh and he's a white man in the company of a black woman with a fro]: I never thought they'd use my stuff.
Woman: Why not? I'd use it.

Daughter's friend [looking at picture of Man on her phone]: Donor dad? Stone cold fox. Is he single?
Daughter: First of all, ew!

Mother [with Mom, to their children]: You've met him, and that's cool, and now we can move on.
Daughter: I wanna see him again.
Son: You do?
Mother: You do?

[Man is driving a motorcycle.]
[Man is shaking hands with Mom.]
Mom [politely]: So great to meet you, hi!
Mother [to Mom, in kitchen]: Go easy on the wine, hon, it's daytime.
Mom: Okay. Same goes for the micromanaging, okay?

[Card: "Uproariously funny!" -New York]

Man: So how'd you two meet?
Mother: I was a resident, and--
Mom: Jules had an emergency--
Mother: My tongue was numb--
Mom: I told her to relax, and then--
Mother: My tongue started working again!
Son: Oh my god.

[Card: "Funny, smart, and sexy!" -Entertainment]

Mom: The plan was to limit his involvement! He is not a father. He's a sperm donor. [Song starts: "Our house"]

[Card: "A Generous, nearly note-perfect portrait of a modern family!" The New York Times]

Mother: I just keep seeing my kids' expressions in your face.
Man: Really?
Mother [imitating his expression]: Really?

Mom (who, it should be noted, is coded butch while Mother is coded femme): I feel like he's taking over my family.

[Man stares at Mother's ass while she's gardening.]
[Man and Mother kiss.]
Mother [pulling away]: Uh-huh. Okay. Yeah. Wow. [laughs in an "I don't believe this" way.]

[Mother rushes outside, pulling on a shirt, to see Random Guy grinning.]
Mother: What is that look you're giving me?
Random Guy: That's not a look, that's just my face.

[Card: Annette Bening]
Mom [as Man and Daughter come home on Man's motorcycle]: Driving home on a motorcycle. This is something I just never allow.
Daughter: Mom! I'm eighteen years old!

[Card: Julianne Moore]
Mother [tearfully, to Mom]: I've just felt so far away from you, lately.

[Card: Mark Ruffalo]
Son: Why'd you donate sperm?
Man [Grinning]: Seemed like a lot more fun than donating blood. [Somber] Hey, I'm glad I did it.

[Card: "It charms audiences into a state of enlightenment!" -Entertainment]

Mother [over shots of various characters bicycling, bathing, looking wistfully out windows, hugging] Marriage is hard. Two people, year after year. Sometimes you stop seeing the other person.

Man [at dinner making toast]: To an unconventional family.


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