Mary Agnes Donoghue — the septuagenarian screenwriter who adapted Beaches and White Oleander — hangs her second directorial effort (after 1991’s Paradise) on some old-fashioned, disgustingly patriarchal values in this shallow coming-out drama.
A closeted Cleveland woman of yuppie tastes and no other observable qualities, Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is exhausted from having to dodge questions about her love life from her indefinably traditional family (father Tom Wilkinson, mother Linda Emond, sister Grace Gummer).
They’re all oblivious that Jenny’s roommate of five years, Kitty (Alexis Bledel), is actually her partner, and what would the neighbors think if anyone found out? Lazy, schmaltzy, and on-the-nose from its Hallmark-friendly production design to its rancid pop-music cues and naive dialogue (“We’re ordinary people, not rebels,” snaps Jenny’s dad, upon learning that his daughter is you-know-what), this blatantly anti-progressive film gives the family’s frustrations an oddly equal amount of screen time, as if their bigotry was a classic misunderstanding.
A mere month after the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay rights, it’s baffling to see a lesbian story that harps on the retrograde ideas that women should all aspire to be married, and happiness is a permanent state of being that the virtuous can achieve.
Directed by Mary Agnes Donoghue
Opens July 31, IFC Center
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2015