Recently, in a high school Congressional forum, my daughter proposed a bill that Florida allow same sex couples to adopt children. It was soundly defeated by her peers. This, despite that study after study show that children raised by same sex parents turn out to be no worse, no better adjusted, and no more or less often gay, than those raised by heterosexual couples (with the exception that children raised by lesbian couples -- probably because men are more likely to abuse children -- are less likely to be abused). The AMA, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child. It is also irrelevant to the child's mental health, self esteem, academic performance, and social development.
So, since children raised by same sex couples do come out alright, why then shout it out with the title The Kids Are All Right? (It is not tongue in cheek as in White Men Can’t Jump). I missed the critical acclaim boat with this film, and so do not quite understand its nomination for Best Picture. Had I not wanted to socialize with the likes of friends who like dumb movies (some even liked the incredibly boring Eat, Pray, Love), I don’t think I would ever have seen The Kids Are All Right. Some of my friends who are lesbian were incensed that Jules would cheat with a man, of all things, and, especially, that Nic and Jules would view (and so the film mention) gay sex, but not lesbian sex. Go figure.
Annette Bening (Nic) certainly is a great actress (American Beauty, 1999, unfortuitously came out the same year as Boys Don’t Cry or Bening would have won the Oscar for Best Actress) and Julianne Moore (Jules) is always lovely, but the nomination seems a token P.C. nod to same sex couples with children. This nod is despite that the movie is about forging and maintaining a precarious entity: monogamous relationships, no matter whose marriage we scrutinize. To nominate this so called “postmodern” (families now have same sex parents-- who knew?) film, directed by Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon, another film about parenting outside the mainstream, which held my interest a longer), reminds me of when Kramer vs. Kramer won Best Picture (and Director and Actress and Actor…) because Kramer vs. Kramer depicted in 1979 such a “modern” topic of divorce and working women who might not find motherhood so wholly embracing. Welcome to the real world. That The Kids Are All Right, or even Kramer vs. Kramer, sensitively or beautifully or provocatively or skillfully deal with the topics to which the Academy gives its nod, is perhaps too subtle for me, but I felt hit over the head.