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'Kids Are All Right' director Lisa Cholodenko: Not all lesbian love scenes are created equal

November 17, 2010 |  5:53 pm

Getprev When "The Kids Are All Right" was released this summer, there was little fanfare about a lesbian sex scene between the film's stars, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening.

But in advance of the December premiere of the dark ballet thriller "Black Swan," there's been a lot of attention focused on a racy same-sex scene between the movie's leads, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

So why is the scene in "Black Swan" a bigger deal?

Filmgoers will have their own hypotheses, but Lisa Cholodenko, who directed "Kids," has her ideas.

Cholodenko has yet to see Darren Aronofsky's latest movie. When questioned about the difference between the sex scenes in both films, she asked reporters at an awards luncheon for "Kids" on Wednesday to describe the "Black Swan" scene. Upon hearing the description, she said it seemed the film could have done without the Kunis-Portman scene. "It sounds like the kind of subplot that could have not been in the movie," she said.

On the other hand, she continued, "Ours was done with humor. It wasn't languid sexuality. And in the tradition of lovemaking scenes, it's harder to sell ours -- the more awkward, interrupted sex scenes."

That's not to say Cholodenko hasn't taken heat for the way she treated sexuality in the movie. Many in the "lesbian right wing," she said, took issue with the fact that Moore's character cheats on her female partner and decides to sleep with a man, played by Mark Ruffalo.

"They say, 'Why did she have to stray with a man?'" the director said. "And that just feels very narrow to me. Sexuality is fluid. Not everyone lives on the lesbian reservation."

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Top, from left, Mia Wasikowska, director Lisa Cholodenko and Julianne Moore on the set of "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Focus Features.

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Comments () | Archives (5)

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Uh...somebody needs to teach "Lisa" that you don't belittle another director's work without seeing it first.

That's an amateur for you.

Cholodenko bothers me in two areas here.

1) She attacks another film without having seen it which is disturbing. She does not know Aronofsky's script. She does not know how the scene fits into the context. She also seems appalled that a film has such content as if any time such a plot point occurs it must fit some specific Cholodenko requirement.

2) She continues to attack anyone who criticizes her use of the lesbian sleeps with guy cliche. I am a straight man and I thought it was a lazy plot device that has already been done ad nauseam. Does that make me some part of this so-called "lesbian right wing"? Maybe I was someone that has grown tired of this plot twist being used, tired of seeing every lesbian romance seemingly have to be based around one of the women sleeping with men, or maybe I just noticed the disparity in how the sex scenes were handled with Bening/Moore's sex scenes being nonexistent while Ruffalo/Moore's were very graphic.

Cholodenko needs to stop attacking other people with insults and maybe understand that criticism is subjective.

First of all, BRAVO, Herb D! Hollywood just doesn't want to "get it" when it comes to gay characters in film and t.v. It WAS a lazy plot device, and I for one am tired of going to movies which supposedly feature gay male characters, and then in the middle of the movie.....BAM! Some woman is straddling one of the dudes with her boobs swinging in the breeze. While the gay lead characters barely touch. THAT is NOT what I call a "date" movie.

"The Kids are All Right:" was a wonderful, smart, believable, sensibly-rendered slice of family life and a very realistic view of the challenge of family relationships. The lesbian hook made it perhaps even more interesting, but the movie was certainly not exploitive or titillating. Not being a lesbian, I don't know whether the affair between the lesbian woman and the straight man reflected a commonplace turn of events or not, but I do completely agree with the director that sexuality and sexual identity can be fluid; human beings are attracted to human beings.
The movie was certainly one of the very best and most humane I've seen this year, and definitely deserves serious Academy Award consideration.

Lisa is a complete idiot. I would never go see this movie after hearing how the woman cheats on her partner with a man. Hello, that's a bi-sexual, not a lesbian! Her comment about a lesbian reservation is ludacris and degrading to us "real" lesbians. I will never watch a movie she directs. No real lesbian would go jump in bed with a sausage. Sounds like she's jealous of Black Swan because it's a "real" movie.


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