Review of “Tru Loved”

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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.

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