& How to Watch Them:
High Art (1998): Syd (Radha Mitchell) is on the hunt to find the leaky bathtub that’s been dripping into her unit but instead finds Lucy (Ally Sheedy) and Greta (Patricia Clarkson) making out while high on cocaine. Oh, and there are some cool pictures in it too. That’s all you need to know… now go watch before we ruin the rest!
The Kids Are All Right (2010): This one’s got more whoopie making fun but this time between moms Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) and all while they watch some legit gay male porn. Enter their son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) to spoil the mood with an admission of guilt, just not the one they were expecting.
Dear Lisa Cholodenko,
As is the case with most things in my life, I was a little bit slow in discovering my love and admiration for you. But please don’t let my delay distract from the intensity with which I eventually fell for you and your gift at bringing to life the deepest, most secretive desires that, until the night I watched High Art in a college library cloister, laid barren and dusty within me. Ally Sheedy was fiiiiine and whatever in that dumb movie about kids in detention. Her dandruff made me laugh, I guess. But, it wasn’t until you worked with her that I saw the depths and truth of Ally Sheedy. She should sue the other directors who she worked with before you. And that wasn’t just a fluke. I’m in awe of your skill for summoning and crafting the most unique and intense and funny performances from actors who I never really thought of in quite that way before. I’ll admit, initially I guffawed at the idea of Julianne Moore and Annette Benning as a couple. I winced a tad at the idea of a lesbian love affair with Mark Ruffalo…but, it worked. It worked in a way that no one else could have made it work. You tapped into something in our culture and achieved the impossible – a believable, funny, thoughtful conversation between Julianne Moore and Annette Benning about why lesbians like gay man porn. That conversation in The Kids Are All Right is possibly the first time I ever “felt seen.” But, at the same time, it’s a movie my parents loved. That’s an unbelievable talent that I admire much more than someone who can only make the beautiful, boundary pushing indie that pretty much no one sees. You have that rare ability to say something, to create these special characters that I, and the world, is desperate to see, but you do it in a way that envelopes the viewer into the experience, makes them feel a part of something, instead of making them feel like they’re on the outside, peering into something they’re afraid of…for that, I say, thank you.