Published March 1, 1997
The only thing Sharon Pollack’s Everything Relative has going for it is its political correctness. Billed as “a lesbian Big Chill” the film is amateurish, self-indulgent, stupid, sentimental, politically tendentious, ill written, ill-acted and ill-directed, but, by golly, it hews to the Party line without the slightest deviation. Pro-choice, pro-left, anti-Christian, anti-conservative: all its views are utterly predictable. The girl-toy of one of the older women is a bond-trader who thinks of “feminists” as fat hairy, butch types in flannel shirts. The others ask if she is a Republican. She says she did vote for Pataki, and they are horrified. Of course, they soon drive her out, and the 70s era politicized lesbians can enjoy their reminiscences undisturbed by any hint that there is any other point of view, except that of the hated pro-lifers and “Christian right.”
The film’s own political purpose is no more original than the mindless denunciations of its enemies. By now the trope of the elective family should be thoroughly familiar from a whole raft of mainstream Hollywood films, though Ms Pollack seems to imagine that it is a brilliant insight of her own. One of the women, who gave up “the life” to take a husband and have children says: “I always wanted a family” and her embittered ex-lover sternly instructs her: “We make our own families.”
“You guys are my family,” says another of the gang, redundantly. What her birth family thinks of this is left unrecorded, though it is strongly hinted that, eventually, the old-fashioned kinds of families may be expected to be good sports about this. It is a heartwarming conclusion, I’m sure you’ll agree.