Gonna share this on the 2011 YAM Blogathon
Let’s see, I missed posting yesterday! Coding is such a mess~ Please, if you know anything about WordPress plugins, programing, and crazy coding talk – HELP ME!
Anyway, to clear my head from that problem, I was having a debate on whether or not The Kids Are All Right is anti-male or not. The participants? The Film Snob (snobbyfilmguy), Kevin Ketchum (KevinnK), Johnny Splash aka. filmcave, Benjamin Vargas aka. bensower, and MovieBungalow.
When the film first came out, a lot of the critics and bloggers were singing praise left and right. TKAAR is my flare, light drama with bits of comedy. Plus, it’s got Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, of course I was going to watch it. However, with positive feedback, there’s also the few that can’t help but feel disappointed… or outraged.
While reading IMDb (battle zone!!), and some comments on AfterEllen.com, you could find lesbians saying the film is “anti-lesbian” because no way Julianne Moore’s character would sleep with a man, saying that it makes it seem like lesbians can’t live without c*ck – their words not mine.
That’s like saying Imagine Me & You is “anti-heterosexual” because no way Piper Perabo’s character would go for a woman. Hmmmmmkay.
Let’s start with the basics. The Kids Are All Right is the story of a lesbian couple that’s going through a rough patch. Nic (Bening) is a doctor that’s spending more time tending to her patients, than her wife Jules (Moore) who’s a stay-at-home mom, whose string of career switches fill her with insecurities.
After years of marriage (ten?), they’ve got two kids, almost-18-year-old Joni (Wasikowska) mothered by Nic, and 15-year-old (16?) Laser (Hutcherson) mothered by Jules. They seem you’re average white upper-middle class family with no kids problems, no money issues. Since Joni is about to turn 18, her brother asks her to contact their sperm-donor father — Enters Paul (Ruffalo), and all hell breaks loose.
WARNING: LOTS OF SPOILERS~~~
Paul is like the cool dad. He works with his hands, he grows his vegetables and has an organic restaurant. He rides a bike, and he’s attractive to other women. Basically, he’s also problem free. Please, he’s the epitome of a care-free liberal. When he finally decides to meet his biological kids, he feels a bit nervous, but his personality makes him likable and cool to Joni and Laser.
Nic is the matriarch of the family, so she puts her foot down. She doesn’t even know the guy, but her kids convince her to have him over for family lunch. Finally, Paul and Jules meet. Everyone seems to like Paul, except for Nic – it’s her family and she’s feeling left out. Jules is also starting her new business venture with a landscaping business, and Paul decides to get her the first gig.
With Nic working, and Jules working, their relationship is even more strained and Jules falls back on Paul, who despite his cool being — no strings attached kind of way — realizes that he’s an older man… he needs to settle down, but instead of falling for the woman who’s available and willing to start a life with him, he tells her straight that she’s not the one. Because, I actually think that despite him telling Jules that fooling around behind Nic’s back is wrong, he actually deluded himself into taking what’s already there.
It’s great of the script to get us to think that Paul could actually fall in love with Jules character, even though it might have been purely physical for her. We also never see him as the “bad character” because he’s never forcefully intruding. During the whole film, we never wish him the worst. However, at that point in the film where everything is falling down, and Paul tells Jules that they could be together… with the kids, that’s when he becomes the threat to Nic’s family unit, so when he knocks on the door and Nic tells him to stop trying to take over her family~ She might be hurtful, she doesn’t need to feel sympathy for him. Then, Paul’s gone.
Because he’s gone without being able to say anything, to have his outburst, we feel bad for him. We wish he had been able to voice his opinion, the fact that we didn’t think “wow, I’m glad he’s gone” is telling us that Paul is not bad.
The relationship between Nic and Jules takes a hit. The family gets angry at Jules, the kids feel it’s their fault for bringing Paul into their lives. It was like letting Paul play in their sand castle, and he decides to pour water on the weakest bit of that castle. Them dropping Joni off in college, and Laser seeing his moms beginning to hold hands as they drive off doesn’t mean they will live happily ever after. It was more like the family is going to try to fix that part of the sand castle that’s falling apart. The castle might have a better construction, or it might fall apart.
Once/if we get our sand castle back in shape, we might let Paul back to play with us.
It’s just complicated real life drama, messy. I’ll take this ending over a happily ever after, or a they divorced without even trying. In any case, if Moore’s character had decided to try with Paul — leaving the kids with Nic — the film would have seemed like the first part of the story.
So what say you? Is it really anti-male if we sympathize with Paul?