Reaction: Oscar nominations

I know, I know. Me? A reaction to something like the Oscars? Well yes, normally you’d be correct that this time of year tends to fly by me before I even realize it’s there. Normally I couldn’t care less which movie was nominated or which movie got snubbed, but then I saw that a particular movie that I really can’t stand got onto the list…

Included in the Best Motion Picture category was the god-awful movie The Kids Are All Right.

I hated this movie, and before I tell you why, you should know their are some serious **spoilers** (duh) coming your way…

Okay, if you’re still reading, then it’s your own fault if I spoil the movie for you…

An extramarital affair happens between Julianne Moore’s character, Jules, and Mark Ruffalo’s character, Paul. If you’re thinking that I’m pissed at this fact in and of itself because “ZOMG!!1! She’s a lesbian…she can’t sleep with men!!!” then you’d be mistaken. Sexuality is entirely fluid, and people identify however they want to identify, and they are attracted to whoever they are attracted to. I saw these scenes playing out as a huge extramarital affair given the context of Jules’ 15-20 year long relationship with Nic (including two teenage kids), which in my mind was going to lead to a relationship-breaking climax in the movie between Annette Benning’s character, Nic, and Jules once Jules was found out. As I watched my thought was “oh no!! She’s in HUGE trouble now! WHAT are you doing?!?”

Sure enough, Nic finds out about the affair and…practically nothing. Yes, she gets upset, and yes, they argue. But that takes maybe 5-10 minutes out of the entire span of the movie and then it’s like they’re back to normal again. This tired old climactic point gets used again and again in movies and normally we witness a huge fight, the cheater moving out, they (sometimes) finally get back together after a lot of push and pull, etc. We also always see this happening between a straight couple, and it pretty much takes over the rest of the movie. But not in The Kids Are All Right. It’s almost like it was an afterthought during the writing of the script.

Um, really? An extramarital affair, whether it be with a man or a woman, is still an extramarital affair. It’s still the worst violation of the inherent trust and mutuality that should be in all relationships, and it felt like it was treated as “oh, well Jules cheated on Nic with Paul, and that doesn’t really count…” Really? How much respect can you have for a relationship that’s 15-20 years long when the worst possible violation of everything that’s been built into that relationship (e.g. an affair) happens, but it basically “doesn’t count”? I wouldn’t have respect for a relationship like that…and I didn’t for Nic and Jules’ relationship at the end of the movie with the picture perfect scene of them dropping the daughter off at college not 20 minutes after the last scene of Jules sleeping with Paul. “Oh that one time that I cheated on you over and over again? It ain’t no thing!” *cue ending credits*

It’s really difficult for me to get offended by a movie (I think the last one was A History of Violence when a rape scene was treated as  “love” scene), but I was offended by this one. The only possible conclusion I can come to is the fact that Nic and Jules are two women in a relationship, and since the ultimate violation of that relationship was not treated in the same way that it would be if Nic and Jules were a man and a woman in a relationship, Nic and Jules’ relationship is not as legitimate as the more “socially acceptable” straight relationship. OR, the even worse counterpart which is the ridiculous idea that gay relationships are inherently rifled with infidelity (“they can’t help it!”), so when it happens, we just shrug it off and move on.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh, and I really didn’t want to come to this conclusion after I finished the movie (I thought about it for quite some time), but I can’t see any other way around it. It was come away with either: a) ridiculous categorization of gay relationships as “not the same or not as worthy” as straight relationships because when an affair happens, it’s not a big deal; OR b) infidelity is a natural byproduct of gay relationships so there’s nothing to worry about when it happens. I didn’t appreciate either one being sold to millions of people as the “typical” gay relationship and then winning accolades (and still doing it seems) for doing so.

Thoughts anyone? Did anyone else see this coming out or was it just me? (“coming out”…hehe, see what I did there? Unintentionally though…) I try not read too into these things when it comes to artistic license in a movie, but this was just too apparent for me to write off. Perhaps someone can help me see an alternative interpretation.

It’s a shame too. I absolutely love both Annette Benning and Julianne Moore. I won’t hold it against them. 🙂


3 responses to “Reaction: Oscar nominations

  1. Wow! I haven’t seen this yet, but I think it’s due either today or tomorrow from Netflix. Very interesting!

  2. Let me know what you think. Marc Ruffalo does a *great* job in this movie though, and to be fair, all 3 (Benning, Moore, and Ruffalo) do a really good job acting. I just got really aggravated by the last half hour of it.

  3. That would aggravate me too. I did want to see this, but the older I get (or maybe the more married I get, lol) I get more and more irked by casual depictions of infidelity in movies and TV.

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