Feminism / Films

Best Picture Nominee Post at Bitch Flicks: The Kids Are All Right

This excerpt is from a post written by The Opinioness, originally published at Bitch Flicks as part of their “Best Picture Nominee Review Series.”

I was so excited to see The Kids Are All Right.  I mean a film with not one, but two amazing female leads as well as a family headed by lesbian parents??  The feminist in me says sign me up!  While it exuded potential, I wasn’t so excited after watching the film.

The Kids Are All Right, directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon, High Art) centers on Annette Bening (Nic) and Julianne Moore (Jules), a loving married lesbian couple in California who are parents to daughter Joni and son Laser…Complications ensue when they all meet Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the sperm donor to Nic and Jules, who becomes ever more entwined in each of their lives…

…Despite the great performances and (mostly) great dialogue, the film was mired with too many problems…particularly its plot.  If you’ve seen The Kids Are All Right or read about it, you probably know what I’m talking about: SPOILER ALERT!! the affair.  One of the women enters into an affair…with Paul.  Yep, a lesbian has an affair with a man.  But not just any man…her sperm donor!

As someone who doesn’t consider themselves straight (but not a lesbian either), I truly believe in the fluidity of gender and sexuality.  I don’t believe in gender binaries, so I don’t feel that a self-professed lesbian sleeping with a man means she’s either/or: either a lesbian or straight.  Nor do I think it necessarily makes her bisexual.  But why oh christ why did a man have to be involved??  As it is, according to the Women’s Media Center, men comprise more than 70% of the speaking roles in films.  And while we’re starting to see gay men and couples in films and on TV shows, it’s even rarer to see lesbians (as well as bisexual and transgender)…

…Our patriarchal society continually tells women that they need a man; that their lives aren’t whole or fulfilled without one.  But they don’t.  Despite the film’s misguided plot, the crux of the film resides in the strength of Nic and Jules’ relationship and their love for their kids…

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2 thoughts on “Best Picture Nominee Post at Bitch Flicks: The Kids Are All Right

  1. OMG, I’m so glad you wrote about this movie. It disappointed me soo much. First off, the trailers made the movie seem family-friendly however they were way too many random sex scenes for that to be. Secondly, I assumed that this movie was going to showcase a postive view of same-sex families and sperm donors, however, it felt more like a clever undercut for both subjects. I mean Paul at the beginning was looking like a cool, weekend father or at least uncle. I was enjoying the fact that he didn’t seem crazy like sperm donors are usually portrayed but we know how this ends. Also It’s hard for me to believe a lesbian of umpteeth years with children would suddenly decides she needs a man or cheat on her lover with a man. And I hate the ending! The only thing I liked about the movie was that Nic and Jules felt believable and pure. Everything else was crap.

  2. Pingback: Bye-Bye to Questioning Bi

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