Friday, December 31, 2010

My Year-End Crush


I thought quite a lot about what entertainment moved me this year. Certainly it has been a mix. From the exhilarating artistic high of "Black Swan" to the unexpectedly delicious chemistry of "Rizzoli & Isles," there has been plenty to enjoy. But out of all the things I watched and heard and felt this year, nothing stuck with me like Annette Bening's Nic in "The Kids Are All Right."

Those of you who hate this film or want to get into yet another drawn-out discussion about the "lesbian sleeps with a man" thing will have to just agree to disagree with me. That's not what this movie is about for me. That's not why it matters. That's not what makes it great. What makes this movie great is family. "The Kids Are All Right" speaks to the heart of what it means to be a family. How wonderful it is. How difficult it is. How you fight for it with everything you have. How you fail more often than you care to admit. 

At the center of the film's complicated ball of life is Nic. The rock of the family, the taskmaster, the breadwinner. Yet Annette makes her more than just the prickly doctor who spends more time with her red wine than her wife. She makes her human. She makes her face, with it's delicate latticework of emotions, the face many of us see staring back at us in the mirror.

We work too hard, we worry too much. We let sharpness and silence fill the spaces of our familiarity with one another. Yet we do it all for the family we cherish. If pushed, we would do anything in our power to protect that family. When Nic slams the door on interloper Paul, it's with a simple, declarative truth: "This is my family." And in that moment there is no such thing as a lesbian mom or a same-sex marriage or a gay family. There is just a mom and a marriage and a family, doing what it takes to make everything all right. Happy New Year, all.

18 comments:

FASTTCR said...

Perfect choice. Annette's nuanced performance was just a bit of all right. And that face/hair - yummy. Happy New Year DS! Read ya in 2011.

lisa said...

For this, and so many other posts like it, you are my weekend, (and thus, my New Year) crush, Ms. Snarker.

Family indeed.

Anonymous said...

There are two "momses"! The door-slamming scene and the dinner table scene at Paul's will be Oscar highlights. Bening has no lines in the latter - just lets everything unfold around her with a slow, sickening realization. A perfectly nuanced performance.

URBAN_Sapphic said...

Benning just may win the Oscar. After all she getting up there in years and yep I am, of the "No Penis" school when it comes to lesbianism. Kind of defeats the purpose and besides that's called Polyamory (loving multiple partners).

But Natalie Portman is the won who rightfully deserve the award for her haunting but sensual portrayal of Nina Sayers the unbalanced ballerina. Just give her the award already Hollywood!

And while I am at it Janelle Monae needs to cut that phallic symbol off the top of the top of her head.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year

Norma Desmond said...

Very well chosen, as usual, Ms. Snarker. Happy New Year!

Tonya said...

Amen. We just watched this movie last night and, wow. Annette Bening blew me away.

Victoria said...

I'm with Lisa. I got a li'l crush on you too, Ms. Snarker! Your intelligent, witty, revealing, outspoken, and sometimes vulnerable posts make me smile and swoon. :-)

Kate said...

Great choice.

You could watch this movie on mute and read the script on her face.

She
is
lovely.

And so are you! Happy New Year!

cocoro said...

okay, I came back to your post,
I like her style,
Im happy, the end of 2010,
good luck for 2011.

Anonymous said...

means, you read the script on her face?

Kathryn said...

I have mixed feeling about aspects of the film, but not about its performances; and overall, it's stuck in my head for months. Great film.

And I toast you, DS: thanks for an intelligent, fun 2010 and all best for 2011.

URBAN Sapphic said...

Not gonna' end 2010 arguing with you people. I am still not seeing the intellectual depth I had hoped to. Suffice it to write that Hollywood has a vested interest in promoting male fantasy. Males 18 to 35 are their principle demographic.
This is why we are constantly inundated with a slew of movies starring a mediocre looking male with hot woman. You've seen those movies because posts have been made about them on this site (e.g. Knocked Up).

In addition there is the long standing fantasy that all a lesbian needs is a good #$#! by a guy to set her "Right."

This delusion is Universal, why do you think there are "Repairative" Rapes committed by unenlightened males in the United States and across the globe?

Finally, I don't know if "Dorothy Snarker" has ever been in a situation where her long term relationship is challenged by an unwelcome 3rd party of the opposite sex.
In fact I don't not know the longest relationship she's ever been in, or even how old she is. I will assert however that she appears to be either young or pandering to a youthful audience by normalizing a situation as if things will return to "the ordinart world" once the emotional and physical betrayal is consummated. That doesn't happen in the real world. That's why they are called "Movies." Movies are fantasy, they are what we would like to believe.

As far as a concern that I am biased in favor of my choice of Best Picture or Best Actress Ntaalie Portman, it's not a valid argument except that Hollywood panders to males by including a lesbian scene. Still "Nina Sayers" doesn't return to her "man" (the artistic director) even for the short term. Nina's kiss near the end was more out of gratitude for the freedom brought out of her by the artistic director via emotionally manipulating her.

tlsintx said...

A la familia!
Yes, Ms. Snarker is my crush too! :)
Happy New Year All

DJspinster said...

Agreed, Ms. Snarker. Happy new year.

Anonymous said...

i was just talking about this yesterday. their togetherness as a family and their love for one another is still resonating with me.

LilliGirl said...

I am so pissed I have yet to see this movie. Even when it was on pay per view they said I didn't have HD channels and couldn't get it. Dammit!

I shall have to find it somewhere, somehow.

Anonymous said...

Agree on Bening as perfect choice - so beautiful with beautifying, so emotional without over-acting.
Only other candidate is Tilda Swinton in I Am Love, because, well, she's Tilda Swinton, and she could do a cat food ad and I'd vote for her ... Happy New Year to all of you!!

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore was the soul of the movie
Don't understand the why about Bening
That's like the bullock's thing last year....