I remember when I saw the first film about HIV , Philapdelphia , and then the first film about with a woman with HIV played by Mary Louise Parker. In both cases I was so relieved to see myself up there that I forgave almost every flaw in the films ( there were more in the latter than the former.)
I can only write these reviews from my vantage point of a straight woman who wants to see good films with good stories and good acting. In one case I did and in one case I didn’t.
I did not think that The Kids are All Right was a great film or a great peon to lesbian culture, the little I know of it. It was not a great film because the plot was old and tired. A middle age married couple have a mid-marriage crisis , one has an affair, the family gets mad at her and her wife gets hurt and everyone cries and enlightenment returns. That’s it. The kids in this movie are all right but everyone else seems a neurotic mess a la every mid-marriage crisis.
We are supposed to be fooled into thinking this is a good film because they throw in a sperm donor who meets and loves the kids; they have a lesbian/straight affair; they show lesbians watching gay porn and not successfully having sex.
I actually was quite uncomfortable as the film went on. Annette Bening who is fabulous in her role as the 50 something doctor/ mom was made out to be an alcoholic. Julianne Moore who is lovely but starting to bore me with all the crying guilt-ridden roles is portrayed as insecure and lost. The sperm donor Mark Ruffalo ( hot, hot, hot )is portrayed as the only one who gets his life somewhat together by running a successful restaurant although he is empty because he has not married or had children . He realizes this when he meets the kids. He is also the swell guy who helps Julianne Moore find herself by fucking her and giving her a job. Annette Bening has the best line in the film at the end. It , at least rang true.
I felt a sense that the straight audience there were mainly voyeuristic and laughed when I didn’t and didn’t when I did. Maybe that is lesbian middle class life in the U.S. south but it sure doesn’t represent people I have met or want to meet. I can assure you that it did nothing to represent straight people very well either. We are not all pining for spouses and kids .
I was bored except when I marveled at how none of the actresses and actors had had their faces done. At least the limited emotions they were given to express looked real.
The Girl who played with Fire is another story altogether. I love the first of this series of books turned into films , The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They are Swedish and subtitled but I don’t minbd that. Noomi Rapace who plays the girl is so hot she is steaming off the screen. Very modern day Great Garbo. She is tough and independent and if not likeable at least admirable. She has a lesbian love scene in it that I found very hot and realistic but my lesbian friends will have to give me the inside story on that.
But her lesbianism is not made any big deal of, just left to be part of the story in a way that was realistic and not overemphasized .The story was good and had surprising twists and turns. The male journalist who befriends her in both films and his mistress are excellent . Once again everyone in it looked normal , not unnaturally surprised or happy or scary. No Stepford Wives or husbands here.
It’s a good solid film and well worth seeing for both the performances and the story.