The Kids Are Alright

| 4 Comments

I'm going to try to take a more objective stand-point on this movie. I feel the director's goal was to show that queer families and relationships are like heterosexual families and relationships. The kids are 'alright,' but there are still ups and downs to every marriage. In a way, it was kind of a breath of fresh air, not seeing a couple swept up in a Hollywood romance, but the fact still remains that the couple was dysfunctional. However, that can go for any couple, gay or straight. Marriages tend to lose romance and settle into domesticity, and often go sexless when tension is high, which was both portrayed in both The Birdcage and The Kids Are Alright. However, both relationships portrayed were not healthy ones, but somehow magically mended themselves without any direct communication and resolution between the couple.

What I was not okay with, was the fact that Jules slept with a man. Yes, sexuality can be fluid. Yes, sometimes problems within a relationship can add to the temptation to be unfaithful. But she identifies as a lesbian (before, during, and after the sexual romp with Mark Ruffalo) and is in a committed lesbian relationship. It is just further perpetuation, along with gay porn being incorporated into sex (hey, it might be their thing, but really? Was it necessary?), that lesbians ultimately need men to have a satisfying sex life (which wasn't even the case with the lone sex scene between Nic and Jules. Nic looked pretty damn apathetic to the fact that woman she loves was between her legs, even with the addition of the gay porn). If Jules really needed to cheat to drive home the point that the couple was having issues, why with a man? Jules reiterated that she was a lesbian more than once throughout the movie, so why couldn't she have cheated with a woman? In my opinion, it would have made the movie 'too queer' to be an economically successful movie in this heteronormative society, so some hetero-sexy time was needed to make the film more 'acceptable' on a larger scale. I mean, who cares if it detracts from the legitimacy of lesbian relationships and the strength and consistency of the plot, as long as theater seats are filled?

4 Comments

I agree that both The Kids are Alright and The Bird Cage are good portrayals of the idea that even if you are queer or heterosexual, marriage or relationships in general can be a series of ups and downs. These movies did follow the typical Hollywood romantic storyline. I also didn’t understand why Jules cheated with a man and not a woman if she identifies herself as a lesbian who is only interested in women. I also found it comical that of course the direct would choose the more femme character of the couple to be with the man than the other. I feel like its enforcing typical Hollywood stereotypes of the queer community.

I think it is clear that Jules cheated with a man instead of a woman in order to re-emphasize the hetero agenda. If Jules, a lesbian, is so terribly unhappy in her lesbian relationship that she needs to go out and look for a man to save her and please her and give her the fuck of her life, then it reinforced the idea that heterosexual sex is simply better than homosexual sex and the solution to all marital problems.

In terms of the OP being upset that Jules slept with a man, I'm upset by the conditions that created this situation for the film industry but in real life why shouldn't a lesbian have sex with a man? It is possible to be romantically attracted to one gender and sexually to another. Or to have sex with someone you're not attracted to just because you need to have sex. Or to have sex with a friend just because. Or any number of other situations in which a lesbian could have sex with a man; you don't need to be attracted to members of a certain gender in order to have sex with one of them. It is her job to decide which sexuality she identifies with regardless of who she fucks. Sexuality is more an identity than a behavioral pattern.

Although you make the point that sexuality is a fluid experience in your post, I feel that you go on to directly contradict that point, which is not something that can be overlooked when analyzing this film. Yes, sexuality is fluid, and if that manifested itself in Jules' attraction to a man is that so wrong? This film largely centers on the relationships between parents and children, and during my viewing of the film, I interpreted Jules' attraction to Mark Ruffalo's character as wanting to legitimize her relationship to her children. This man was the father to both of her children. To be perfectly blunt, his sperm had already been inside of her- is it so difficult to acquiesce the idea the film was working towards the legitimacy of fluid sexuality, rather than pandering to heteronormative ideals? I would argue that simply labeling Jules' sexuality in the film as hetero-normative is both unfair and serves to devalue the complexity of human sexuality.

I agree with your statement that Jules sleeping with a man was not a positive thing for the movie, since it seemed to reinforce the idea that lesbian relationships are not legitimate, and could be a passing phase, and what is really boils down to is that a woman is going to lust after a man in the long run. However, I do think it is okay for them to admit that they are attracted to men. I was actually delighted to see that they watched gay male porn while attempting to have sex, because I do think it was a good portrayal of the fluidity of sexuality.

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This page contains a single entry by thom3804 published on February 22, 2012 1:18 AM.

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