What a wonderful movie. Dialogue gems that will be immortalized in slang and endless quotations. Fun scenes that will be remembered in many parties to come. How I love a brilliant script! The Kids are Alright is that type of movie that has many points of entry, and strikes a chord, somewhere, somehow and you sink deep in the chair with a smile on your face. OK, it’s a lesbian family; but that’s just tapping into the cultural zeitgeist of gay marriage. It’s one of those movies to drag that someone-who-left–a-scar and didn’t listen to your rubicons and make sure they ‘learn-the-lesson’. See?!? Hear that?!? They will listen “to the movie”. It’s nonchalant and deep and funny. And oh so very real. The movie talks about the basic things: emotions and vulnerability of family. But screenwriter and director Lisa Cholodenko bombards it with every weapon in her arsenal. Bravo.
Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the anonymous sperm donor, is a laid-back entrepreneur who gardens. Anette Benning is Nic, uptight, control freak, one of the mothers with the emasculate role. Julianne Moore is Jules, the sweet passive almost lost cool chick. Paul has no other commitment in his life but the restaurant and is totally cool with meeting his offspring. He is seductive, the kids love him, he loves them, and loves the chick. But ends up a jerk… Not unknown to real life no? Men seem so fearful of their emotions and so ignorant to how real relationships work, that they just screw it up. Always. In this case, Paul had never been in a relationship and feels he is “ready” to attach himself into a family. Instantly, with two grown kids. Then there’s Nic with so many layers… The family survives because strength comes from within. If it doesn’t survive it was not love.
You’ve seen this movie tons of times….a teenage girl growing up in a world filled with suffering, despair, abuse, difficulties, and pain. Her life is a nightmare and she dreams of moving away of her misery, dreams of fame and/or fortune, of beauty and bliss. She gets in trouble, gets out of school, but a class filled with likewise troubled girls and a compassionate teacher is what gives her hope and makes her soul come alive. She raises from the dead. We’ve seen that tons of times, of course. And obviously the performances and two powerhouse producers (Oprah and Tyler Perry) will guarantee a few Oscars to it. But to me the value of the movie is the un-glamouring of glitzy stars, such as Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, who come up, close and frontal on screen, showing how common faces they are. The unsaid message is clear. Then there’s Monique, a flashy comedian turned into a horrible disgusting and unappealing mother, showing her shapeless hairy body crowned by gigantic pimples on her face. And he morbidly obese main character who you magically empathize with and see no shape or color… Oh it’s powerful alright. Times they are changing.
I am reading a brilliant book, Transformation of Intimacy, by Anthony Giddens. And as I dwell on his premise of confluent love and pure relationship, I think of Heidegger’s fundamental ‘just being’ that we strive daily as an oppressive mandate… It is modernity at its best, being it the struggle to relate or to find peace of mind through meditation, yoga, love. Pure relationships do not exist without communication; self-autonomy, and the democratization of the personal life. The possibility of intimacy means the promise of democracy.
We do live for the ‘time being’…. in love relationships, business associations, solitude and hope. The challenge is to accept what is not our will – but then what moves us if not our will? – and accept what we cannot change. Being is always and only being in time, and time is nothing other than being. It’s only the acceptance of each and every day as is that brings us peace of mind; and not some major event that usually catches us by surprise and works as a wake up call… Happens that it’s the only way to find self and quiet the mind. As people, jobs, and cities come into our lives, one strives to understand why, and why things happen the way they do, instead of just let the feeling flow, the being be…. . Nothing disturbs feeling so much as thinking. Ugh… My mind is wandering.