I have to say something about The Kids Are All Right. I’ve already sorta-reviewed it (here).
This is a follow-up plea.
I’ve been watching in horror and disgust and (especially) disappointment as lesbians all over the web have excoriated this exceptional film because it has a “lesbian-sleeps-with-a-man” storyline.
The film does not have that storyline.
It has that plot point, but it does not tell that story. Its stories are much bigger than that.
The Kids Are All Right is about family, love, honesty, parents, children, failure, dreams, freedom, responsibility, now, then. It’s about growing old, growing up, reaching out, turning in, having courage, having issues, taking a risk, taking stock, making babies, making speeches, moving on, moving closer, exploring, retreating, eating, drinking, having sex, having a fit, freaking out, calming down, going too far, going home, kissing well, kissing awkwardly, wearing sweater vests, wearing tennis shoes, wearing hats, telling the truth, telling a fib, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst, saying goodbye, saying you’re sorry, confronting your fears, avoiding your neuroses, singing Joni Mitchell songs, laughing at Joni Mitchell songs, riding motorcycles, driving trucks, driving each other crazy, forgetting your principles, remembering what you love, watching porn, watching your children become adults, tending the earth, neglecting your own, rising above, going down, going to Home Depot, going off the rails. It’s about lesbians, Californians, hippies, skater dudes, composters, perfectionists, drinkers, landscapers, Mexicans, Americans, moms, dads, kids, friends, enemies, frenemies, lovers, posers, flirters, partners. It showcases flaws, talents, fun, pain, hopes, disappointments, commitment, roaming, steadiness, flakiness, distrust, acceptance, promises, lies, sincerity, hypocrisy. It knows how people love, what people think, why people fuck up, what makes adolescence amazing, what makes adults lovable, who knows best, who’s on first, what is sexy, who holds the cards, how to make you look, what will make you cry, why you should bow before Annette Bening, why you should worship Julianne Moore, how to spell “all right,” who you were as a kid, who you’ve become, what you missed, what you feel, what you need, why you try, why you can’t, how you can, who you wish you could be. It matters because life is hard, love is precious, kids are tricky, parents are important, women are strong, men are beautiful, people are strange, families are fragile, time is fleeting, and love is everything. It is funny, sad, smart, universal, careful, carefree, pure, inspired, real.
It’s about life. It’s about women. It’s decidedly not even a little bit about penises.
If you have seen the film, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, you cannot possibly know what I mean. So stop jerking your knees and belittling a bigger-than-that movie and GO SEE IT. Keep your mind and your heart open. Listen to what the characters say, watch what they do, and understand who they are.
Don’t cheat yourself. Lisa Cholodenko has a brilliant vision and a giant heart. It saddens me to think that someone might miss out on that by favoring petty politics over transcendent truth.
I hate, hate, hate storylines in which lesbians sleep with men. And I love, love, love this movie. Oxymoron? Or revelation?
All I am saying is give TKAAR a chance.