Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Kids Are All Right - Or Are They Really?

Annette Bening is at it again. Looking totally different than the haggard look she wore in Mother and Child, she is convincing as half of a lesbian couple in The Kids...along with Julianne Moore.

Like Mother and Child, both films are about reproduction and parenting in the 21st century. And both have their fair share of gratuitous sex scenes.

The Kids, however begins when the kids are 15 and 18 and jumps right into their meeting with Paul, "the sperm donor" who is never called anything BUT Paul or "the sperm donor"...or "our sperm donor."  It is a far cry from the reality that offspring of artificial insemination go through to locate their genetic heritage. In the movie, it happens magically by simply making just one phone call to the clinic, which the daughter conveniently finds amongst her "moms" papers.  If only!!  Doesn't even mention that the vast majority never find the truth.

There's a twist in the plot (which I will not reveal for those who want to see it) that veers the plot - and the family dynamics portrayed - totally off course in a way Juno almost did.

That aside, Bening's character sums up her fears and annoyance at having to "share" a moment of her kids lives with this man when she shouts: "This is not your family. This is my family and you a fucking interloper!"...a comment which hit me in the gut as it probably summed up what any family formed with the child of another - or another's genetic material - feels.

The film-maker has succeeded in creating a bit of humor while trying to "normalize" the life of kids growing up with two Moms...but the failed horribly at any attempt to bring attention to the vast majority of Donor Inseminated children who suffer never knowing half of their genetics, a point that could have been touched upon instead of making it appear that any child could pick up the telephone, make one call, and find their biological father - a feat in itself - not to mention that that he would be willing to know them.

They cheated on their research and as a result cheated audiences.

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