This Is to Mother You
BY Ari Karpel
July 07 2010 2:00 AM ET
Is she also describing herself? “When I think about what goes on in my house,” she muses, “it’s not hippieville over there, but I wouldn’t say it’s squeaky-clean.”
It’s not spoiling anything that’s not revealed in the movie’s trailer to say that Moore’s character, Jules, gets entangled sexually with her kids’ donor dad. “It’s less like she met a guy in the supermarket and decided to stray,” Cholodenko explains. “It’s more like, Oh, my God! You’re the father, we have a child together, and there’s something sexy and confusing about that!”
With that twist, The Kids Are All Right lands back in the subversive territory the filmmaker has explored in the past—in which characters pay no attention to proscribed societal bounds of a given sexuality and jumbled feelings arise.
“The movie somehow manages to get at the kind of chaotic messiness that is involved in any family,” Bening says. “At the same time, it’s talking about how most of us desperately want to keep our families together and we want to find a way to raise our children, to make it all work.”
There’s even sex. Good, old-fashioned sex scenes like movies used to have—where you see breasts and asses and orgasms (oh, my!). “You know what?” Cholondenko says. “I think the movies are so behind the times, it’s sad.” With that she’s off on a rant that confirms she hasn’t lost her edge: “There’s such a mandate to democratize films, to justify their budgets and to make money, and all the things [result in] the whitewashing of content.”
The title of the film, The Kids Are All Right, embodies Cholodenko’s ethos. What might have been an earnest contribution to the cultural conversation is instead a wry allusion to earnest contributions. “It’s a total riff on that,” she says of the title, borrowed from the song by the Who. “It’s a total ironic nod to [the idea] that, you know, we can’t have gay schoolteachers,” she says with a look of disbelief.
Earnest or not, Cholodenko’s movie carries a message. “They’re fine,” she says. “The kids have gay moms, and they’re fine.”