Sapphic Cinema: “The Truth About Jane”

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The Truth About Jane is the first movie we’ve ever covered on Sapphic Cinema that I had not previously seen, though I had caught glimpses of it on “Greatest Lesbian Kiss Scene” compilations, where frankly it does not belong. (Also, yes I have watched all those videos and so have you, but only one of gets to say we are doing it for work.) Despite being a Lifetime Original Movie—meaning that it is best enjoyed in that intellectually forgiving time while you are waiting for an Ambien to kick in—The Truth About Jane has had an outsized impact over the years, because its central relationship is not the romance between two girls, but the bond between a mother and daughter.

jane1OH MY GOD I HAD THAT SHIRT!

Meet Jane. Jane is Your Typical American Teenager, except no she’s not because she’s played by Ellen Muth, whose deadpan glower makes Aubrey Plaza look like Ellie Kemper.

jane2I HOPE IN MY NEXT LIFE I COME BACK AS A ROCK. BUT NOT A PET ROCK BECAUSE DON’T TOUCH ME.

(Sidebar: Muth is amazing in Dead Like Me, which was a pretty spectacular show up until a farewell movie that was Skins: Fire levels of awful.)

Meet Jane’s mom, Janice. Janice is the Typical Suburban Housewife, except how could she be because she is played by Stockard Fucking Channing.

jane3LOOK AT ME, I’M SANDRA DEE.

And there really could be no more perfect casting choice for a movie designed to make middle-aged women accept their kids’ sexuality because Stockard Channing will always be that cool chick who gives you permission to get two martinis drunker than you originally intended. Where Stockard goes, the mom vote follows. I personally would follow her off a cliff.

Jane and Janice have always been thick as thieves: going shopping together and saying things like “Let’s be bad and split a parfait,” and whatever other Gilmore Girls shit. Until, that is, Jane’s junior year of high school, when Jane RUINS EVERYTHING. [Edit: Actually it is Jane’s freshman year, which makes zero sense because she is turning 16, but I guess this movie was written by an old person.]

jane4HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL! DON’T DO ANYTHING YOU WOULDN’T DO IN A WHITE PANTSUIT!

The year is 2000, a time when America truly believed its biggest problem was the several inches between Britney Spears’ skirt and her shirt. It was, I can’t help remembering, one year before I started high school. It was sixteen years ago, which both is and is not a very long time.

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