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.