No matter what you thought of some of the details in Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right” three years ago, it was a cinematic groundbreaker in showing a married lesbian couple with a close-knit family. For the first time, a movie about a gay couple didn’t have to be exploited or be shown hiding behind a shocking veil, even if the marriage was far from perfect. It was a movie that most people who advocated more films on the subject thought would progress on the big screen.
Since then, no film has been made that shows a married gay couple living normally within the confines of society. As shown with the NBC comedy “The New Normal”, the movies may be seeing too many scripts that take the gay marriage in stereotypically comedic terms rather than seriously. And perhaps no studio wants to take on the gay marriage theme when it’s so much of a risk at the box office with the continued polarization over the issue.
Nevertheless, it’s a challenge to imagine Hollywood not taking it on again very soon with the Supreme Court perhaps making a landmark decision on gay marriage. As well, with the national dialogue moving to conservative circles where a tipping point of tolerance may soon happen, what kind of plot should be done to make a serious movie on a gay couple? So much of real life may be writing that script right now.
Rather than Hollywood doing a rehash of “The Kids Are All Right”, the next movie on the subject has to head into the modern conflicts we’ve seen. “Milk” may have shown us how certain segments of society reacted in the late 1970s. Today, a script showing a modern conservative finding understanding in the acceptance of gay unions would most likely end up on the coveted Hollywood black list.
As with recent Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s sudden reversal, we’d need a film that shows what the personal journey is toward tolerance rather than showing acceptance just because it’s there. In nearly all those cases, it involves someone in the prominent person’s family who happens to be gay, as with Portman’s son. But such a film would potentially have a watershed ending as “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” did 46 years ago when Spencer Tracy’s character has an epiphany in accepting a black man into a white family.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a film also shouldn’t depict the legal problems with gay marriage. No matter how many other conservative leaders agree that gay unions are inevitable, complications are always going to exist in making it nationally diffuse. Perhaps a peek into present problems or a sci-fi film looking into the future would be an interesting new spin on how gay marriages may be worked into the natural fabric of everyone’s lives.
Although someone should perhaps create a film that depicts the arguably real division over accepting gay marriages: Those who flaunt being gay over those who live normal lives as in above-mentioned “Kids.” The more films made that show it as a natural progression rather than requiring a parade of controversial and exaggerated stereotypes, the more peaceful the future transition of same-sex civil unions will become.