Review of “Everything Relative”

JosieMaria

Josie (Ellen McLaughlin)

Everything Relative showcases every cliche from the bad-lesbian-movie handbook: awkward dialogue, preachy messaging that is about as subtle as a gay pride parade, a few bad actors, a few really bad haircuts, and a corny sing-along to an improvised Holly Near song.

But I can't help liking it anyway.

Directed by Sharon Pollack, the film (which first premiered in 1996 and just recently came out on DVD) is about a group of seven college friends who reunite for the weekend twenty years after graduation to catch up, settle some old scores, and relive their glory days on the front line of feminism in the 70's. Think a lesbian version of The Big Chill, but funnier (sometimes even intentionally).

And like The Big Chill, half of the the friends have slept with each other at some point in the last twenty years, and of course, by the end of the weekend, they'll be lots more of that.

The official purpose of the get-together is a bris for the new son of Katie (Stacy Nelkin) and Victoria (played by Monica Bell), which then turns into a weekend with the gang at their old stomping grounds in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Katie (a therapist) and Victoria (a lawyer) have been a couple since they were all friends in college, and though they are thrilled with the birth of their first child, Victoria's desire to be closeted in order to protect her high-profile job is a bone of contention between the two which comes to a head during the weekend.

Early on, we suspect something is amiss between Josie (played by Ellen McLaughlin) and Maria (played by Olivia Negron), who are awkward and strained with each other; soon we learn that Maria left Josie all those years ago for "a house, a car, and 2.2 kids." In other words, Maria left a devastated Josie and married a man because she couldn't take the pressure of being gay and the disapproval of her Mexican-American family. When she finally admitted the truth to herself and came out to her husband years later, she lost custody of her kids.

Josie, meanwhile, is now a writer and a recovering alcoholic now with really bad clothes who has never gotten over Maria's departure. This weekend is the first time in many years the two women have seen each other, and it doesn't take long for unresolved issues to bubble up to the surface.

Luce (played by Andrea Weber) is a professional stunt woman who is forever trying to get over the death of her lover in college from a car accident. She shows up at the bris with her girlfriend-of-the-month, Candy, an investment banker who makes fun of feminists and doesn't think being gay is any big deal (as the sole representative of us "younger" lesbians, Candy is a really insulting character, but never mind). Candy doesn't last more than a day in Northampton, and soon it becomes clear that Luce and Gina have some unresolved issues of their own.

Gina (played by Gabriella Messina) is now a high-powered business woman, but during college she earned money working as a prostitute. Her biggest problem is her inability to let anyone get to close to her (and her still-stuck-in-the-70's haircut), even as she makes a play for the also-unattainable Luce.

Finally, we have married, straight-woman Sarah (played by Carol Schneider), who works at Planned Parenthood and is frustrated over her inability to get pregnant.

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