'Making Grace'

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Making Grace
Directed by Catherine Gund
First Run, July 20 through 30, Two Boots Pioneer

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Card-carrying members of Focus on the Family, take note: Lesbian mothers are nice ladies with normal lives. Gund's doc follows Ann and Leslie Krsul-Sullivan from sperm donor anxieties to daughter Grace's first birthday. In their Staten Island cocoon, Ann and Leslie are surrounded by supportive exes who make brunch and accompany them to the hospital. Ann, a high-strung architect, waddles from job site to job site until just before giving birth; composed Leslie quits her post as director of development at Poets House to be a stay-at-home mom. After the redheaded bundle is born, Ann's mom offers her services as diaper rash consultant. Moments that puncture the placidity, as when Ann's sister apologizes for her initial discomfort about same-sex parenting, read as manufactured crises. Yet real, dramatic tension erupts as the strains placed on the women's relationship surface, offering a candid look at what the stresses of parenthood can do to any couple. Patient Leslie rolls her eyes as she recounts her partner's "neuroses and craziness and hormonal surges" during pregnancy; Ann recalls the door-slamming fights after Grace's birth. But they're in it for the long haul and, as an end credit coda reveals, decide to go through the whole crazy-making process again.

 
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