Jen Hitchcock: As a gay mom raising a child with my partner, I went to the movie "The Kids Are All Right" with my combat boots on, prepared to be angered by how Hollywood was going to portray my family.
I was already put off by the fact that one of the mom characters (the household breadwinner, of course) HAD to have a butch hairdo. But then I remembered that that's merely Annette Bening's hair, and that both she and her husband, Warren Beatty, have sported lesbian haircuts off and on for quite some time, regardless of the parts they are playing. With this in mind, I was able to let go and instead celebrate the fact that gay moms have arrived: Hollywood finally cares enough to hire hot actresses to construct some titillating dynamic in our boring lives that doesn't include murdering or stalking.
In "The Kids Are All Right," Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have the picture-perfect family life: two well-adjusted teenagers, a beautiful house and plenty of normal talk and intelligent, witty banter over family meals. Things get turned upside down, however, when youngest kid Laser (Josh Hutcherson) convinces his older sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska), who is heading off to college in the fall, to find and meet their sperm donor. Enter the man previously known as "Daddy in a Jar": magnetic, easygoing, new-age bachelor Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who decides that family life might not be all bad, especially when it is ready-made and doesn't require years of changing diapers, being puked on and giving up a whole lot of "me" time.
The kids' new friend threatens to shatter their family by bringing the cracks in Nic and Jules' relationship to the surface and prying them wide open.
Even though this is a story of an "unconventional" couple, the message resonates with many families. What bonds this couple together and ultimately gives them the ability to navigate through hard transitions in life is the strength gained in sharing the responsibility of raising kids. Their kids are representative of everything that has been -- and is -- all right with them.
Most importantly (let this serve as a warning to all guys looking for quick cash in their twenties), know that later, if you haven't shared in the family struggles, you certainly don't get an equal buy-in to the tender moments and chipper chats shared over the bountiful Hollywood dinner table.