The Kids Are All Right
Posted on August 7, 2010
(First, my apologies to all those who looked for Boston Med last night. I wrote my post on Th and the show runs on Thursday nights, but those who received the e-mailed post received it Friday. Already broadcast episodes of the show can be downloaded from the ABC website.)
We saw a fabulous film last night, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right. It is smart, funny, humane, achingly painful, and hits every note just right. I enjoy movies like Avatar for their escapism and stunning visuals or Slumdog Millionaire for their sweep and social politics and age-old tropes (rags to riches and a love story in this case) or the Bourne movies for their intrigue and specials and suspense and pacing, butI adore moves like The Kids Are All Right.
These are movies that feel grounded in real life — that can look at the small, private lives of individual families and find universal themes, common experiences, and great drama. Watching the movie last night we cried and we laughed and we felt like we had felt or known or observed in our own lives almost everything we saw on the screen. I think of films like The Kids Are All Right as small movies, but only in their sense of scope and subject and detail. In their wisdom and humanity they are far bigger movies than Avatar or countless other Hollywood blockbusters.
Th NY Times has a great review that described the movie better than I can: http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/movies/09kids.html. I urge you to see what was for us was one of the best movies about families that we have seen in years. Be forewarned before taking teenagers along, there is enough sex and swearing in the film to make some in the theater squirm.
It will not ruin the plot to tell you that the parents in The Kids Are All Right are a lesbian couple and rather unremarkable (though remarkably portrayed). This week an appeals court judge overturned California’s gay marriage ban and not a minute too soon. A conservative, Reagan appointee, the judge brought some civic sense and logic back into one of the most disheartening and narrow minded debates we have seen in this country for some time.
I love Senator Jef Sessions chastising the courts for ignoring the will of the people. First, if not for the courts ignoring the will of the people, we would still have segregation in this country and women would not have a right of privacy over decisions around parenting and child bearing. The “will of the people” is not always to be trusted and it’s why we have a third branch of government. Session should sign up for an online course in the roots of US Government.
I also love the judge’s response to some of the anti-gay marriage arguments. For example, marriage is meant to support procreation. “So older people shouldn’t marry?” he asked. “Or people unable to bear children?”
I offer three arguments in support of gay marriage:
1. If we really believe that marriage is a cornerstone of society, shouldn’t we want more people to marry?
2. If the gay couple next door gets married and that threatens your own marriage, you have a problem, not them.
3. Heterosexuals haven’t done such a good job at it (see the statistics), so lets give gay people a shot. Maybe we can learn something from them.
More seriously, this is today’s civil rights challenge. We need to stand up to discrimination and bigotry and zealously guard against any one group’s moral code dictating laws and constraining individual liberties and rights. If two loving and consenting adults wish to assume the right and responsibilitiesof marriage, God love them.
If we could whip up voter energy around jobs and peace and the environment the way we do around God, guns, and gays we could built one heck of a society here in the United States….