"Kids" breaks new ground for lesbians on film

Fri Dec 3, 2010 3:14pm EST
 
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It isn't stirring the same buzz as that 'gay cowboy film', but Oscar contender "The Kids Are All Right" may give portrayals of lesbians in Hollywood a positive boost the way "Brokeback Mountain" shattered previous depictions of gay men.

"Kids," is the most prominent American film yet to hit cinemas centered on the lives of a lesbian couple, powered by two big stars, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, a clever script and classy directing, critics agree.

In "Kids," audiences encounter a funny, touching tale of a long-term lesbian couple whose children locate their sperm donor father. Mark Ruffalo plays the dad who rattles the lives of the couple portrayed by Moore and Bening.

Yet, the issues faced by the parents and their two kids could occur in any modern American family, and audiences seem to understand that. "Kids" has churned up $24 million at box offices, which is serious money for an independent film that cost only $4 million to make.

Add to that the exposure of likely Oscar nominations -- Bening for best actress and a possible spot among the 10 best film nominees -- and "Kids" should broaden its influence.

"It's a real step forward for Hollywood," said Deadline Hollywood columnist Pete Hammond. "(It) is the most mainstream I have seen in the genre and doesn't wear its politics on its sleeve." Like others, Hammond noted that in more than 100 years of movie history, lesbians have existed mostly on the fringe.

Lesbian subplots or sex scenes have been included in Hollywood films for years. There was 1961's "The Children's Hour" with Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, and more recently "The Hours", "The Hunger," "Mulholland Drive," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and this year, "Black Swan."

But movies with lesbian couples at the film's core have been few and, for the most part, were confined to art house theaters. They include "The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls In Love," "Go Fish," "Bound," and "High Art," which was directed by "Kids" maker Lisa Cholodenko.   Continued...

 
<p>Annette Bening poses during a photocall for the film "The Kids Are All Right" at the 36th American film festival in Deauville September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>