Tru Loved is a wonderfully inclusive, unconventional teen comedy with
a twist on the usual coming-out story. Directed by Stewart Wade, the film
features a biracial lesbian couple and a host of charming characters who represent
every point on the LGBT spectrum.
The film follows Tru — short
for Gertrude, named after (who else but) Gertrude Stein — a well-adjusted teen
who has just moved to a California suburb with her moms. Her family situation
is revealed in a very funny ’50s sitcom send-up that introduces both of her
mothers — and her two fathers. It’s the first of several Ally McBeal-style fantasy sequences that set the goofy, endearing
tone for the film and the family-friendly vibe.
Warning: Some spoilers
Tru is straight, though
she’s just about the only person in the film who is. She begins dating Lodell
(Matthew Thompson), the school’s star football player and all-around nice guy. But
when he takes Tru to a musical on their first date and never seems to want to
kiss her, it raises a few red flags for the queer-savvy teen.
Tru calls her dads for
help and gently confronts Lo about his sexuality. Though he’s reticent at
first, they settle on an agreement: The pair will be best friends, and Tru will
be his "beard" until he finds the courage to come out in the small,
conservative community. He distances himself from his mother and sassy grandma (the
spectacular Nichelle Nichols) while he begins the slow, often painful process.
Tru goes on to form the
school’s first-ever gay-straight alliance, while Tru’s moms, Leslie (Alexandra
Paul) and Lisa (Cynda Williams), keep close watch and offer motherly advice and
hilarious commentary, depending on the context.
Left to right: Najarra Townsend, Cynda Williams, Alexandra Paul
Though a great deal of
the film deals with Lo’s coming out, this is Tru’s story, and her world is a
wonderfully accepting one. Her moms are the coolest parents on the planet — both
are fair, funny and easy to talk to. She takes on the typical teenage problems
(budding sexuality, friends, peer pressure) with a great deal more maturity and
sense than is typical for a 16-year-old, a not-so-subtle reflection on the
quality of her parentage.
This is not to say she’s
boring. Like the title character from Juno,
she has a quick wit and mildly quirky vibe to go with her moral compass. In
fact, Tru comes across as the kind of girl everyone without a cheerleader
fetish had a crush on in high school — she’s pretty, has a sense of humor and is
completely down to earth.
Wade was wise to give the
moms plenty of screen time as they navigate the tricky waters of their daughter’s
teen years. They’re playful yet very wise, and Tru seems to genuinely get along
with them (despite the usual teen surliness at times). It’s easy to see how Tru
turned out so well-adjusted, and it’s a nice touch to see a representation of
lesbian motherhood entirely devoid of cliché.