26 April 2010

Donor Dad? Stone Cold Fox.

The Kids Are All Right film trailer

There’s four very positive points to make about The Kids Are All Right trailer:

1) Vampire Weekend. ’Cousins’ is featured in the opening seconds. Heck yes…indications of a promising soundtrack.

2) Mini Gwyneth Paltrow (Mia Wasikowska) as the begrudgingly, ballsy daughter - proof that Tim Burton has the power to turn nobody’s in to somebody’s (she played Alice, and she played her well).

3) a jewellery-wearing, bike-riding, slightly-greying, scruffy-bearded Mark Ruffalo. I swoon.

And of course, most importantly 4) A married lesbian couple, played by two of the biggest female actors in Hollywood, is making its debut on the big screen.

The Kids Are All Right looks smart. It looks clever and fresh. And while its not out until July (I’ve disappointingly heard it may be limited release), it does appears there are some critics over at Rotten Tomatoes who have gotten their greedy hands on a copy. One critic describes the film as ’cleverly peppered with laughter’. What an amazing combination of two words. Cleverly peppered…

My feeling about trailers is that you have to view them with a teeny grain of salt. That said, please take my forthcoming critique as neither conclusive or in any way correct. Trailers themselves can provide little inclination as to how I’ll actually end up feeling about the film (Shutter Island being a perfect example of this - horribly misleading trailer, amazing film) but I’m hoping this one won’t disappoint, despite a few red flags...

If you please:

It has the potential to be full of clichés, but then again I suppose it’s rare for any movie to be completely void of them. Maybe this red flag is waving at the thought that it could be full of lesbian clichés? Hopefully the following will expand...

The physical juxtaposition of the Mom’s and the way its utilized throughout the trailer is a bit of an overused representation of lesbians in mainstream pop culture. Julianne Moore is instantly pitted as the more feminine partner. Why? Well, for starters, her hair is longer. Yes that’s right. That’s how annoyingly obvious mainstream culture’s representation of lesbians can be. Come on, admit it. At least 7/10 of you immediately pinned Annette Bening as the more masculine partner, completely based on her physical appearance. And it's not your fault for doing so. It's just confirmation of an age-old, completely outdated cliché.


As we discover at the 1m37sec mark, Moore’s character is also the one most likely to be/have been/become heterosexual. The fact that she is both desired by and (at least momentarily) desires Ruffalo only helps to confirm that she is, in fact, more feminine as a direct result of being just that- desired by a heterosexual man. But more importantly - why the shit is she kissing Donor Dad?? This. Is. Ludicrous. Yet I’m simultaneously so intrigued..was Moore’s character straight at one point in time? Did she hop on Stone Cold Fox because he’s the sperm to her egg? Or was she simply curious about what it would be like to kiss a man? I have to wait until July 7for answers???

'A film that plays fast and loose with sexuality’ claims another critic over at Rotten Tomatoes. My response to this- things better get real juicy in the 1h44min of screen time because quite frankly, I'm not remotely getting that vibe from the trailer. If we’re going to receive the message that all women who are desireable and therefore desired by men are apparently (and perhaps inherently?) heterosexual, then it is most certainly not playing fast and loose with sexuality- it's only doing the opposite, preserving traditional heterosexuality. Cliche.

And lastly, I sincerely hope the underlying message throughout the entire film does not have to do with the fact that a family with both male and female parenting figures is the best way to raise a well-rounded child. That would be the biggest cliche of them all.

You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a full review of The Kids Are All Right come July...until then I'll be spending the better part of my time attempting to come up with a phrase as equally charming as ‘cleverly peppered with laughter’.

Finally, for your swooning pleasure:

Girl, Deconstructed


  1. What a delightful review!
    I like how you tackle some serious topics like lesbian gender role cliches and the constant need to represent heteronormative parenting (despite countless studies pointing out that the most stable household for children actually IS a lesbian household), while also keeping it light and accessible. I had never heard of this movie before, but I am definitely excited to see it now :)

    Great blog.
    Looking forward to reading more.


  2. Just to say, love your blog! Keep it up! Like Jenna, I'm excited to see the movie now. :)