“The Kids Are All Right”
It is not too surprising that
would be on the vanguard of those advocating for societal acceptance of
homosexual couples. After all,
anything goes in Tinseltown, where hedonism is good publicity, and no
marriages last for very long, anyway, no matter which genders are involved.
So here are two very well-respected, talented, award-winning veteran
heterosexual actresses who play a lesbian couple in a long-term relationship.
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are thoroughly believable as Nic and
Jules, even demonstrating casual affection, and plenty of intimate moments.
They’d both decided to have children “in vitro,” through a
sperm-donor father. Joni (Mia
Wasikowska), Jules’ daughter, is a quiet, intelligent, achiever who has just
been accepted into the “right university,” and plans to follow in her
other Mom’s footsteps and be a physician.
Laser (Josh Hutcherson) is Nic’s son, and though he is outwardly
compliant, he is beginning to hang out with the wrong neighbor kid and
experiment with drugs.
Everything is over-dramatized and
over-analyzed in this household. Psychobabble
abounds, as well as quick arguments, pointed pouting, abject apologies, and
conversational restoration. We
talk about feelings here, a lot. The
kids call both women “Mom,” or even, collectively, “Moms.”
They act like it’s no big deal to have been raised by a lesbian
couple: for them, it’s all
The plot thickens when Laser decides
he’d like to get in touch with his biological Dad.
Since Joni has just turned 18, she is able to call the sperm bank and
ask for the biographical information. Enter
Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who seems to be perfectly happy in his protracted
adolescence. He’s never been
married. He’s never had
children. He runs a whole food
restaurant combined with a little organic farm in his backyard.
He dates a very good-looking young hostess from his restaurant, who’s
about the same age as his kids. But
wait, he doesn’t know anything about his kids.
Would he want to meet them? And
if he did, what would he say to them?
We’ve already done awkward, when the
two Moms argue about who’s supporting whom, and who’s being supportive of
whom. But this is big-time
awkward, as surrogate Dad and his two practically-grown children meet for the
first time, trying to figure out if they have anything in common other than
Paul, obviously missing a sense of
family in his own life, begins to befriend the kids, which threatens the
matriarchy of Nic, and then, to further complicate matters, Jules surprises
even herself by feeling some attraction for him.
Now we’re really getting into the sexuality debate:
is homosexuality hard-wired from birth, or a choice of lifestyle?
Are there bi-sexual people whose attractions could compel them either
way, or is experimenting with the other gender mere situational curiosity?
We don’t really have morals here, but
instead we have indignation at such an egregious display of transfer of
affection. The kids get really
confused when they see Nic and Paul flirting.
In fact, one of the unexplored areas of discussion is the kids’
potential confusion about their own sexual identity.
But as frank and stark as some of the sexual encounters are in this
film, it’s just as well we’re dealing with adults, not teenagers.
Yes, there’s humor, and pathos, and
swearing and screaming, but there’s also a genuine attempt to lionize the
LTR, as if that’s how people really find fulfillment, and not in serial
escapades. It’s an interesting
little campaign agenda for a
so intent on defending personal choice that there’s literally no such thing
as societal standards. It’s
just whatever you think is right for you.
At least here, though, there is the sure and certain acknowledgement,
even after making a shipwreck of home life, that what we do with ourselves
does, in fact, have an impact on those whom we love.
It’s hard-edged, but it feels honest.
It’s not for the easily offended.
But people will be talking about this one.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace