The Kids Are All Right: Lesbian Executive Realness in Fists

Alright kids (see how we did that!) — you can all stop your endless trolling of Jezebel, AfterElton, Salon, Out, The Advocate, etc. because the final word in angry gay movie reviews is here…

Julie & Brandy: In Your Box Office give THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
a very serious, non-frivolous TWO FISTS!!

We love this movie so much that we decided to skip the re-enactment and put on our monocles and thinking caps and take fingers to laptop a la Roger Ebert (post mouth surgery).

First things first: The Pink Elephant Cock in the room!

We won’t bother you with a spoiler alert because by now, you all must have heard that one of the lesbians in the movie sleeps with a man. In a nutsack (see how we did that!), Annette Benning and Julianne Moore play rich, cool lesbos living in L.A. who’ve been married for a million years, when one of their annoying precocious teenage kids contacts the sperm donor they used to make said kid. The sperm donor is played by Mark Ruffalo who looks pretty hot and is just about the ONLY man who could’ve played this part (besides Johnny Depp or Barack Obama) because he has the special ability to seem gentle and sexy even to lesbians.

Why would he need to seem gentle and sexy to lesbians, you ask?
Because Julianne Moore’s character ends up fucking him. Five thousand times.

Let’s not sugarcoat it: it was weird, it made us uncomfortable, it didn’t make sense, and it wasn’t realistic. However, seeing the lesbian Julianne Moore have sex with Mark Ruffalo was a lot less offensive then reading that Lisa Cholodenko said, “I was much more interested in reaching out to the male population than I was concerned about alienating a sector of the lesbian population.”+

(Dear Lisa,
While you were busy reaching out (pandering) to the male community, you didn’t just alienate a small section of the lesbian community — you actually disvalued women, in general, as a viable ecomonic marketplace. It’s a shame that the one voice in gay/female filmmaking being distributed on a large scale had to become a cog in the wheel rather than a conduit for change. Reading your quote made us feel almost as bad about being women as Sex and the City 2. Okay well that’s going a bit far.

That being said, we loved your movie and are dying to work with you. Call us! We wrote a lesbian romantic comedy and we want you to direct it.

Love Always,
Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard)

+

Despite the pink elephant cock in the room, we still loved this movie. We understand selling out and plan on doing it the first chance we get. Someone please! Just give us a chance!

You can go and read all the other reviews (if you want a real review), but it’s worth the risk of being redundant to say- this movie was genius. The writing was charming and poignant, the directing was thoughtful without being heavy-handed, and the acting.. wow. The fucking acting. They were all great, but Annette Benning was giving ACTOR’S STUDIO LESBIAN EXECUTIVE REALNESS. That bitch stole every scene. All she needed was her lesbian mom jeans and a glass of wine and she had us at hello.

Say what you will about Lisa Cholodenko, but she and co-writer Stuart Blumberg deserve some major Kudos (the good kind with the chocolate chips) for writing these incredible female characters. It’s literally the first time anyone has brought women to the silver screen in this way. Not since Marlene Deitrich wore a tuxedo and kissed another woman on the lips in the film, “Morocco” in 1930, has a film absolutely redefined the female protagonist archetype. For all the lesbians, and straight-lady “tops” out there — this one’s for you. YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE.

We aren’t saying that this movie is without flaws. They are there, but they are worth overlooking. Was it annoying seeing a lesbian have sex with a man? Fuck yeah. But not more annoying than having to say that this is THE BEST lesbian movie ever made (to date) — when we wrote the best lesbian movie ever written, but no one will make it.

What movie, you ask? Oh. Well, let us tell you… www.nicestthingthemovie.com

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51 Comments

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      It wouldn’t hurt it you did it more often. :)

      Seriously, what’s with all the upset? Nothing in the movie suggests they’ve been lesbians *all their life*. Why does this have to be a “lesbian movie” as opposed a movie about *people*? Good movies are about being *human*.

      I know several people who are bi, but just prefer their own sex in the long term. That’s not uncommon. So what’s the big deal? She has a “lapse”, if you want to call it that, and sleeps with a guy. It wasn’t just *any guy*, it was established that she recognised him has the father of their kids.

      I think that went a long way to justify her actions in her confusion about her relationship. She could even have been wondering if marriage to another woman could work for her. Who knows? Bottom line is, why take this as an insult to lesbianism for gods sake? Seems a rather puerile and small-minded position to take.

      Any movie that follows strict fundamental rules to portray characters and motivations is going to be diminished by that fact. Truly good movies are about being human, flaws and all.

      What’s a perfect lesbian? A perfect straight? A perfect human being? Do you pretend to know, and dare to impose it on others?

  1. Thumb up 0

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    I’m really nervous to see this movie. I understand that the reviews are unanimously positive but it’s really hard for me to swallow the “lesbian sleeps with a man” plot that’s been done ad nauseam in film & TV. Seeing it this weekend and hope I’ll be wonderfully relieved!

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      ditto. i also agree with this:

      The sperm donor is played by Mark Ruffalo who looks pretty hot and is just about the ONLY man who could’ve played this part (besides Johnny Depp or Barack Obama) because he has the special ability to seem gentle and sexy even to lesbians.

      Like it might be easier to handle b/c he’s so emo and I really liked You Can Count on Me and because he reminds me of Jeremy Sisto/Billy Chenoweth.

      I’ve read a lot of interviews where she says this is “true-to-life” and authentic, and I think that’s a valid point — it’s not unreasonable that something like this would happen, and does happen. It’s the fact that it’s a well-worn trope by this point that it makes us all so nervous. Like Jenny & Alice being bisexuals who are really just lesbians who claim to be bisexuals — yeah, that happens all the time, it’s realistic, but we’d hope that one of our own people (IFC) would use this chance to offer up a different story, one not already told by straight people.

      Anyhow obviously I will see it anyway because otherwise I will continue talking about it as if i have seen it, like I did with every other movie to ever come out, ever. I’m into movies lately.

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    JULIE AND BRANDY, I HAVE AN IMPORTANT FUCKING QUESTION:

    I will still probably weep tears of dyke horror when I see the screen time Julianne Moore could be bringing most of my pre-out fantasies to fruition wasted on that scruffy dude from You Can Count On Me (but also i’ll probably see this in our theatre here that serves booze, thank god) but…

    DO JULIANNE MOORE AND ANNETTE BENING HAVE SEX ON SCREEN? I NEED TO KNOW.

    and if so, how much?

    also why is annette bening so bangin’? i am obviously a very sophisticated film-goer with extremely refines tastes (nudity).

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      TayTay!

      You’ll be happy to know that YES! Julianna Moore and Annette Benning engage in sexy lesbian sexo sexo pharmacia ladysex in the movie.

      AND if my memory serves me correctly (and there’s some serious doubt here due to all the drugs and alchohol I frequently enjoy), I THINK there’s some sneaky (but still nice) boob shots of Julianne Moore. It’s during the boy-sex though. BOO!

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    also, lesbohorror aside, i am legitimately interested in the way that moore and ruffalo’s characters connection is a product of his biological relationship to the children. kind of like how the scene where laura and alice have grief sex to get closer to dana. i love grief sex.

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      I liked the Alice/Lara grief sex thing. It seemed weird at first but then not so much. Could be because Alice and Lara were hot separately and then hot together.

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        i loved the grief sex too and have defended it fiercely, because these are the things people call upon me to defend. like the scene in high fidelity after the dad’s funeral when the boy says to the girl “it’s either sex or you put this cigarette out on my arm.”

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    Hey gals! I read a lot here but this is my first comment in forever. Okay ever.

    First off, Julie & Brandy: love the review! Love the “actors studio lesbian executive realness” bit. Word.

    Second off, and in nearly as many words as your whole review (sorry! loquacious!) I wanted to sidle my big ole lesbian arse up to the conversation about the Paul (Mark Ruffalo) – Jules (Julianne Moore) affair plot line here, and offer up my two cents, which can be summed up with two words: TROJAN HORSE. With the Trojans, one would hope.

    I had the same initial reaction, and posted my own review of the film myself at my blog & BlogHer yesterday, here:It’s a Family Affair. The whole first umpity-ump paragraphs are about how many frigging times we’ve had this plotline, well, yes I’ll say it dadgum it, shoved down our throats.

    The trojan horse part here is utterly wide-eyed pragmatic, I have come to believe, after ruminating on this movie between my first viewing, in early June, and my second, a coupla nights ago. You want a shitload of people to come see something? You want to make a product that will earn your actors’ income back (this was a shoestring movie, weighing in at under $5 mil; shot in 24 days, etc.) and get advance funding for something the next time? Then throw in a plotline that will expand the audience. That’s one cynical take. Expanded on further below.

    A less cynical take, by the way, is something that Riese touches on above: while it may be WAY implausible that a gal like the Jules character would haul off with a man for her affair (oops! spoiler! I said AFFAIR, not LIFE CHANGE), and way WAY implausible that it would be the donor dude, it is within the realm of the imaginable. And the world of art objects is slightly different than the world of documentary, in that it has only to obey the laws of the plausible within the realm of the world constructed in/for the art object. Yes, this is a faux-realist movie, and therefore it has to be faux-realistic. And it is.

    The larger issue to me, and the thing I find ultimately so interesting, isn’t really a cynical one. I believe Cholodenko (and Blumberg) wanted to go straight for the jugular of hetero fantasy about us, stay there long enough to keep the hetero fantasizers happy in their movie theater chairs long enough, and THEN do something quite fantastic at the end. As in, bring it back to real. I have a constitutional predisposition against too much spoilering of a movie in advance (it’s like pickpocketing the viewer’s fun), but I’m going to override it to say two things: (1) all the hetero sex in the movie is comical, aerobics-sex, shot full frame & at a distance (nary an intimate close-up), and while it gets the most screen time (barely), we get 3 kinds of sexual images in the film (guy on guy, gal on gal, gals/guys on each other). The first sex we get is the old married couple’s, well, old married couple sex. The only romance in the film is between the couple at the center of the film, though, and that couple and that relationship is between Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore). The impact of the Jules/Paul thing is also on the kids, since it’s a family we’re looking at here, and that remains true, too. And (2) there are several moments in the second- or third-to the last scenes that basically, visually, represent the whole fucking point about this plot-line/ fantasy/ pink dildo thing. You’ll know ‘em (those of you what haven’t seen the movie yet) when you see ‘em.

    I go back to the whole Trojan horse thing here. Or, to borrow another image: the hetero affair story line is, to my mind, the worm on the hook. The hook is us.

    I apologize for spoilering a bit more than I’d liked to have. It’s hard to take up this issue and remain unspoilery. In my own review, basically I just said: ride it out & see where it takes us all. It’s worth it.

    Last note: I had the chance to interview Cholodenko (and will write it up for next week), but I can say that she and Blumberg — who had been a sperm donor when he was in college — wanted expressly to make something commercially viable that still told a true story. I think this film, especially if it’s as successful as it should be, will make a good case for the broader commercial viability of stories that have even less of an overtly hetero sub-plot. That will remain to be seen, but I can’t imagine it wasn’t on Cholodenko’s mind. The truth, in fiction, is in the emotional threads, and if you follow those, this story is very honest. What she said above (which easily could have been in a much richer context) is totally valid. As an artist, you can zig-zag around worries about being misunderstood by your own people (whom you love; who you embody), or you can make your art in intriguing ways and in a way that (1) takes your own people’s worst and well-founded fears and then twists them into a kind of a little balloon hat, and (2) pulls unexpected folks into dialog. I asked her that very question, and so did B. Ruby Rich in the after-screening chat at its first San Francisco sneak preview, and she (sans the balloon hat image) basically said as much.

    Okay, so that was way more than two cents. I’m coming to NYC in early August and will be happy to buy you gals a beer to make up for this dissertation-length comment. If’n yer that easy. Smiley face emoticon.

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    Yer welcome! And I’m glad the comment didn’t make you feel “Jesus Christ on a raft, can the gal just get to the point already and stop Bogarting the comment stream?”

    And Taylor, it took me so damn long to write the War N Peace-length comment that I didn’t see yours. Alas, they’re an old married couple, having, well, married couple sex. Fortunately Cholodenko made a film about a lesbian photographer heroin addict who seduces a (soon to be formerly) straight hottie. So there’s that.

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    “Not since Marlene Deitrich wore a tuxedo and kissed another woman on the lips in the film, “Morocco” in 1930, has a film absolutely redefined the female protagonist archetype.”

    sold, kids. sold.

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    I gots to agree with Polly here and that is how many F**King movies are we going to have to deal with one of the lesbians suddenly needed some man tang mid script. It’s not cool and personally it is one of the huge reasons I might not go see this movie. I understand that the plot device was used in an attempt to widen the audience however, I don’t think its fair. Give the hetero fan boys something to look at and that is all that lesbian sexuality/love/romance is ever going to be seen as in main stream society. Something to look at. Sure, the ending is supposed to be great and all but so what if half the theater is still thinking about the fact that lesbian number 1 hooked it deep with sperm man?

    I could be wrong and truth be told I will probably see this movie regardless but I will make a face when they get to poking and I reserve that right.

    P.S. “Morocco” comment for the win

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    “I was much more interested in reaching out to the male population than I was concerned about alienating a sector of the lesbian population.”

    And obviously this was THE ONLY WAY a male audience could connect with a story about lesbians. I almost feel more insulted on behalf of the dudes than I do on behalf of my lesbian self. Almost.

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    I really love the cast (and I think Mia Wasikowska has an alternative lifestyle haircut now?!) and I definitely want to see this movie.
    If someone wants to make a movie that appeals to lesbians and straight men, why don’t they make one about a cute lesbian/straight man friendship? it could be a good stoner movie.

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      A lesbro-mance movie sounds amazing!

      I have so many difficult emo feelings about the whole “lesbian sleeps with a man” subplot of this movie. I’m trying to withhold any judgement until I actually see the movie, cause then, I can judge it on its own merits but when I read sh*t like this, “I was much more interested in reaching out to the male population than I was concerned about alienating a sector of the lesbian population,” it drives me nuts! I can’t stand it when lesbian relationships are commodified into a straight male perspective. I mean, lesbian relationships often have very little to do with men, so why do people always seem to force them into the equation? Do they think that having a “man” in the equation somehow validates the relationship, or do they somehow think that men are the antithesis of lesbian and therefore they can create a paradoxical relationship between the two? I don’t know, hopefully they’ll explain it once I actually see the movie…

      P.S. Am I the only one who feels demoralized every time I hear someone say that they’re not gay, they just happen to be gay? My first impressions are that this is the movie equivalent of that statement. Growing up in the Midwest, I had to fight to come out. I lost friends, I was made fun of and threatened at school, some asshole in a car threw bottles at an old boyfriend and me and laughed as they sped away. So it makes me angry every time someone tries to paint off their sexuality like its insignificant because its minimizing and makes me feel even smaller. I mean, I still can’t hold my boyfriend’s hand and walk past a pack of straight boys without the fear that I’m going to get my head bashed in. Being gay matters. I hope one day we’ll reach a point where it no longer does, but for some us, its still a big deal.

      P.S.S. Why do I rant every time I come on this site? Perhaps its because you’re all smart and unafraid to approach difficult subjects. Brava, Autostraddle.

      P.S.S.S. Janelle Monae is amazing. “She always fights, for her man but not her rights.” -Locked Inside

      P.S.S.S.S. I used to write notes like this in middle school, with all the P’s and S’s, but I still don’t understand what they mean.

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        PS means Postscript-comes from the latin Postscriptum. Paper wasn’t cheap back in the day, so that way they could add something at the end w/o having to throw it away and start over.

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        My fellow native Midwesterner, you nailed it with this:

        “Am I the only one who feels demoralized every time I hear someone say that they’re not gay, they just happen to be gay? My first impressions are that this is the movie equivalent of that statement. Growing up in the Midwest, I had to fight to come out. I lost friends, I was made fun of and threatened at school, some asshole in a car threw bottles at an old boyfriend and me and laughed as they sped away. So it makes me angry every time someone tries to paint off their sexuality like its insignificant because its minimizing and makes me feel even smaller.”

        I felt totally demoralized after this movie.

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    PPSSSSS Yanjerky, I hardly know what they mean either. But does that stop me? No! Post post script, here we go!

    First, this whole conversation will be more interesting when folks are talking about what they saw, rather than what they think they might see if they did see it, or what have you. I sez, for folks who are curious but also furious, SNEAK IN THE SIDE DOOR OF THE THEATER like I did when I wanted to see Titanic for random pop cultural reasons but was too irritated at James Cameron’s bravado/ego.

    If you wind up liking the film, you could donate the film $$ to your local LGBT family organization. Directory to same, here.

    But I can at least say: this is a movie about a lesbian relationship. The Julianne Moore character doesn’t have a relationship to the Mark Ruffalo character. He is a TOOL, in I suppose many senses of the word. He is an excuse, a thing to use, the nearest object to hand. It’s clear — indeed, literal, written into the script — when you see the movie.

    He is on the outside, looking in, again not just figuratively but literally, at the end of the movie. What the movie ends with is THE point, not just a little crumb tossed at an expendable minority of the audience members, i.e. us.

    Also, for those of us in the queer community who are making/ having families, our alliances with folks across the biological divide (to the extent that there is/ has to be one) is, to oversimplify, different. It’s not just a political alliance, we actually NEED each other to make family. I have a dear woman friend whose husband made our family possible; their whole family is in our family as an aunt/uncle/cousin deal; it’s wonderful for us all. That’s apart from the commercial/cultural questions regarding pandering to a majoritarian desire, which I’ll grant is definitely part of this conversation and certainly because it’s part of The Kids Are All Right. But it’s also interesting to keep in this convesation.

    Last note: one interesting way to read the Mark Ruffalo character (Paul) is in an über film-critic way. As in, he stands in for something. Let me just propose, for people’s digestion, that he stands in for hetero fantasies about lesbian people, lesbian relationships, lesbian families. Because, in this movie, he does! Totally! He’s ignorant of what Jules’ relationship and family really means, and he’s the one on the outside when it’s all said and done with.

    There, spoiled the plot line. My apologies for those who now have less to get irritated about but also now have less of a surprise.

    The movie trailer is a teaser, and the teaser tells a lot, (a) that this sub-plot exists, and also (b) that it’s about a family. I don’t dismiss all our irritation/ exasperation about the fact that to have a mass cultural impact as a film maker, you have to find a way to negotiate an economy which is filled with 75% straight people (at the least), 50% of whom may be with you, may be not. As a Californian who saw 52% of my people not with me (@ least those who voted out Prop 8), I’m accutely aware of their impact. And not so much on me, but on my kids.

    That might be regressive; it might be apologist, it might be accomodationist. I’m way old enough to parse those political distinctions, and will always respect hardcore purist/ separatist folks (as Alice Walker says, “for health purposes”). I’m just saying, there’s a lot at work here. Simple dismissive reductiveness is easy to pawn off, but it gives us a bit less to work with.

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    LOVED this. Just saw the premiere tonight in LA w my gf, and…yeah..two fists and a finger in the butt and whatever else you guys use in your rating system. The dialogue was what got me…it was so. fucking. real. When they called each other “chicken” and “pony” I looked at my girlfriend and mouthed “panda” and she was like “hi monkey.” yeah, we’re THAT gay. Anyway.

    The thing about the lesbian fucking a guy bit..well, I saw it as she needed some gratifying sex after years of marriage and this is where she happened to find it. It makes me nauseous that most of America will affirm the stereotype that men give women something in the bedroom that we can’t give each other (and I fiercely fight this stereotype whenever I have to) but I do think that the filmmaker’s INTENT was more about breaking monogamy than needing cock.

    Plus, I mean, Annette Bening. I want her to be my faux lesbian mother. For reals reals. And Julianne Moore is so adorable. And that kid’s douche friend. I mean, who pees on a dog??

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    Co-sign to Polly’s Trojan Horse theory. Yes, it’s a trope but it does invite a diverse audience to see this as a potential story in their lives. And truthfully, straight affair explorations that I’ve seen in my community of lezzimoms ALL EXCEPT FOR ONE have been related to reproduction and the feelings it can bring up for SOME bio and non-bio mothers. The other cheating mom had an inexplicable affair with her kids’ martial arts instructor, who, interestingly, looks a lot like Depp.

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    I don’t know that I could overlook the lesbian-sleeping-with-man subplot. It would annoy me so much, because it reinforces the idea in mens’ heads that they have a fucking chance with us… So many guys have relentless pursued me to the point of me blocking them on social networking sites because they just don’t get it that I am a lesbian…. I am not a bisexual and never will be.

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    Having seen the movie, agree with Polly on almost all points. I encourage all the commenters to just go see the damn thing, then decide. The film is moving, it’s organic, it’s pretty fucking great (and it made me lust for Annette Bening like gaaaah). Yes, Julieanne sleeps with the donor dad, but the thing’s complex. Not to spoil, but FWIW (I thought) she was almost trying to be closer to her kids. Here she is, this middle aged stay at home mom, whose kids are growing up and leaving the nest, and I think in a weird way that’s what it’s at least partially about. She says to him, “I see my kids expressions in your face.” (Of course, he could be seen as a tool, an outsider, what-have-you, as proposed above.) All’s I’m sayin’ is, see THEN judge, see then judge.

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    So, I saw the movie this weekend, and I don’t really have too many thoughts about the whole straight sex issue (except that there was, in fact, a lot of it. I’d even say too much of it — after they did it doggy style, it was kind of overkill, no?).

    But my other thoughts: it was a little boring? Or slow, maybe? Having watched the trailer a few times and reading a few reviews, I felt like I had seen all the funny parts already and pretty much knew what was going to happen. I know that wasn’t necessarily the point — it’s not an M. Night movie obvs — but there were a few scenes were watching felt like work.

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    Here’s how I see this: we lost the battle (lesbian sleeps with a man, urgh), but we won the war (in the end, this is a great movie and, even with doggy-style fuckery, his raw, male, American Apparel henley-power can not/does not convert her).

    The war is over! Ok, not really, but it would be nice if it were true.

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    It’s not just that Jules fucks Paul — it’s the male porn that Nic and Jules watch that turned me off. Even Laser wants to know what that’s all about! Yes, the acting is terrific and Annette Bening is to lust after — it’s just that we’re not the only audience. What film about a straight couple would have the wife “fuck” another woman?

  18. Pingback: Mombian » Blog Archive » The Kids Are All Right: Marriage In the Bathroom Mirror

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    Am I the only lesbian on the planet who totally hated this movie? I went tonight on the recommendation of Autostraddle and because my partner and I are starting to inseminate using a known donor next month. So, yeah, perhaps my personal life right now colors some of my perspective. But I’m sorry, to call this the “lesbian Brokeback Mountain” as I’ve seen on some sites is just totally demoralizing. I don’t count really painful-to-watch marriage-is-on-the-rocks sex as the equivalent of the totally hot Enis & Jack romp in cowboy tent.

    But aside from that, I thought the acting by Moore and Bennett was really horrible. Their relationship didn’t come across as believable (miserable relationships can still be believable). Also, who did the costumes for this? It seemed like the director’s only way to make Moore and Bennett believable as lesbians was by giving both of them a bunch of hippie jewelry to wear — including a hilarious dolphin ring that the character Nic wore on her middle finger or something. I mean — seriously? My partner and I have our share of a hippie side (and jewelry), but it really came across as a lazy way for the director to say, “hey, here’s some lesbians — they love patchouli, expensive Volvos, and Joni Mitchell!” (But, for some inexplicable reason, Nic hates composting…don’t ask why because NOTHING in this movie was explained with much depth.)

    And, yeah, the big penis in the room wasn’t just an aside, dear readers. It was basically the point of the movie. I feel like the ONLY character I got to know in the movie was the sperm donor, and Mark Rufolo did a pretty decent job of playing a middle-aged, too old to be too-cool-for-school douchebag (albeit a hot one).

    I really wish I would have gotten to know the kids’ characters more — I really didn’t seem to learn anything about how they actually felt about getting to know their sperm donor. Sure I was happy to see them in the end “defending” their family, but I have no idea how or why they got to that point.

    This movie really sucked. It made me feel demoralized. It pissed me off and it just made me want to go home with my wife, curl up in our not-miserable relationship, and love her in the best way I know how despite the heterosexim and homophobia that dominate all media representations of our lives.

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      thelesbiansaren’tallright….I TOTALLY agree. And puh-lease, the anti-composting comment was ridiculous, and did not match her “character.” It also made me wonder if that line had been taken from real life, but from someone very different. The only thing I could tolerate about the movie was the little “marriage is weally fucking hard” speech and Annette’s cute hair. And maybe her glasses.

      So, for lesbian parenting movies, what are we left with now? Best in Show? They had some dogs, right? :)

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    Glad I found out the lesbian sleeps with a man before I saw the movie. Though I’m not a lesbian, I know a few things about film. That plot twist is f’ing stupid and unbelievable. Negates the whole thing. If I’m having problems with a male partner, I’m not going to jump in bed with a lesbian. That’s retarded. Why is it that lesbians portrayed in movies always sleep with men? WTF?

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    Saw it today with my dad, who, btw, I’m not out to yet. *Fantastic* idea.

    My thoughts: I’m fine with the “sleeping with a man” thing. What did sort of bother me was that the sex between Annette Benning and Julianne Moore was sorta…frumpy. I mean, I get that their relationship is fizzling after years of marriage, but all the straight sex scenes were lusty and exciting, and the lesbian sex consisted of:

    1 – bored, meandering, under the covers, lights off, watching porn
    2 – foot rubbing in the tub that goes nowhere

    And again, I understand their sex life is floundering. But the appeal of a lesbian relationship — the fun parts — were totally missing from this movie. :(

    This hang-up aside…I thought it was pretty good. My dad, who’s a little conservative, empathized with all the characters, which made me smile. If all it accomplishes is a slight degree of humanization (instead of say, tokenism), I’m all for this movie reaching as many theaters as possible.

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    HATED IT!!!!!

    I saw it with my partner in a cramped movie theater, and if we weren’t totally imprisoned in our seats at the end of a row, we would have left halfway through.

    I have soooo many reasons to hate this movie:

    -Is this really a depiction of a good lesbian partnership? Julianne Moore’s character is constantly the ‘good cop,’ dressing like a teenager, and acting like a general idiot. Notice how sexy Annette Bening sits at one head of the table, but the other head of the table is symbolically vacant? Barf!

    -The whole story of how they met, with the “I couldn’t feel my tongue, hee hee hee…” made me want to scream! We get it…lesbians use their tongues!!!! for sex!!! omigod!!!

    -I understand the whole Mark Ruffalo being sexy thing, and okay, fine, but what grossed me out was the reaction of everyone in the theater whenever he got busy with Good Cop. They were tittering, while we were scratching our heads and wondering why we were supposed to find it cute. Yeah, I said tittering…

    -And NO, those were SO not lesbian sex scenes! PLEASE, how many people seriously have sex underneath the covers? Was there some other scene I missed while I was rolling my eyes? I saw “The Girl Who Played With Fire” in the same theater, with the same crowd (older heteros), and even though there were some gasps, they could deal with a real sex scene.

    -ALSO….sorry, I know I’m on a rant, but this pissed me off, too: if I wanted to hear two women bickering for two hours, I wouldn’t pay for it! ON and ON!!! Was I the only lesbo who could predict every fight before it happened? Gag me!!!

    Okay, I’m going to click “Submit” and hope this comment helps save some unsuspecting lez the cost of a movie ticket…no offense to everyone who loved it. :)

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    What’s with the gay porn scene! do lesbians really watch gay male porn while having sex under the covers? so unsexy! The man can give her satisfying sex (“Oh Hello!” as she opens his fly) which is every man’s fantasy – utter bullshit! How come we have naked hetero sex but lesbian sex only under the covers?

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      Yes, they do actually. I made a documentary about lesbian sex and asked the women what kind of porn they like. (this was a randomly pulled sample of about 30 women from weho and long beach of all ages and gender expressions). they all hated lesbian porn with zero exceptions, some preferred straight porn watching guys fuck girls turned them on, and about a third of them said they actually prefer gay male porn to any other kind. it is true, and when i saw this part in the movie i laughed out loud because i feel like cholodenko was giving the lesbians in the know a little secret wink while confusing everyone else. also, jules explanation for why they like gay man porn (calling it “counterintuitive” etc.) was almost verbatim to what i heard in my interviews.

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      “do lesbians really watch gay male porn”

      Sigh. What’s with all the boxes? I’m sure some lesbians like muppet porn as well.

      I hear some straight people like gay and shemale porn. zomgwtfbbq

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    I saw this movie and I can’t believe you girls gave it two fists. The fact that one of the “lesbians” has sex with a man isn’t actually what bothered me; it was the fact that her affair with that man was displayed so explicitly and repeatedly, whereas the single sexual encounter with her wife was completely PG and under the covers.

    On the plus side, I liked that the characters were nuanced and interesting. Also I was glad that one of the women was (at least somewhat) butch, because butch girls are hot and completely underrepresented. For those reasons I would give this movie two fingers.

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    I know this is about 22 years too late but omg I saw this film recently and I was so appalled. I would say way but I think it’s all been said! I’m attracted to men but I thought the dude was a total minger (British slang for someone you wouldn’t want to go near with a 10th pole)

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    Alright, so I have mixed feelings about this film (which I realize came out ages ago, but I only just saw it) and about the comments posted here (which were also posted ages ago, bear with me). I would like to analyze the idea we are exploring here of the “real” lesbian. Many of my friends who identify as “queer” but not 100% all the time lesbians sometimes express a feeling that their queer experience is devalued. I have a friend who often wails “I’m just not gay enough am I?” as if she has to prove to some unidentified or perhaps imaginary judgmental purist gay entity her gayness (as if 3 serious ex girlfriends is not legitimate proof that she has some gay in her). I would love it if we could all subscribe to the idea that sexuality is a spectrum with a sliding scale and that certain outside stimuli can tip the scale one direction or another.

    I really hope it is not the goal of lesbians on this comment board to make me (and my ilk) feel like illegitimate queers. I have been dating my lovely girlfriend for 2 years now (I know this may not seem like a significant portion of time to some, but it’s my longest and most serious relationship so far) but I am definitely attracted to men as well (and for the first year of our relationship, we agreed to the terms of an open relationship, so I was free to act on any roaming men I desired). I agree that the queer girl boinking the straight man and driving her life into the ground is a plot trope that has been WAY overused, but I would like to point out that it does happen, and that many women who identify as lesbians, if asked to place themselves on the scale, would not necessarily place themselves at the very most lesbian side of the scale.

    Am I making sense here? I know I am mostly just throwing anecdotes at you, but that is all I have right now. I guess I just felt like I could end up like Moore’s character, an average 85% queer lady married to a wonderful lady, having the same marriage issues as anyone, and straying to the 15% in search of something-anything!-different and new. I don’t like the idea that all of my gay friends will HATE ME and think I’m SELLING OUT and buying into a stale PLOT TROPE when really I never identified as 100% lesbian. I guess I feel like this is realistic because I can honestly imagine this happening to me! (or something similar). Does this make sense? Did I miss a scene in the movie where Moore’s character tells everyone she is 100% lesbian and that she wouldn’t have sex with a man if you paid her? I mean it’s definitely possible, I definitely missed the fizzled-marriage-lesbian sex (and I’m glad I missed it… if they’re really going to have a scene like that in the film they should end the film with a steamy re-energized-marriage lesbian sex scene to balance things out). But back to my main point: How do we know Moore’s character is not bi? How do we know she’s not 85-15? Or 75-25? How do we know her feelings don’t change from day to day (sometimes you wake up one day and feel a little more like 65-35). Am I (and my ilk, let’s not forget them) fated to be alienated and judged in straight, gay, and bi communities simply because I (we) do not want to put myself (ourselves) in a box (boxes)?

    This post is certified word-vomit and for that I apologize, but I guess I’m upset. Help? Thoughts?

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