Flawed but moving
Victor Chen | Hacienda Hts., CA USA | 11/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I admit. I'm a straight guy with a penchant for lesbian-themed movies. Sue me. "The Truth About Jane" has a lot of very serious flaws. First of all it could never shake that poorly-funded, independent/made-for-Lifetime Channel feel to it. Parts of it were extremely cheesy. As you've probably gathered from other reviewers, this film is also excessively didactic at parts, especially in the end where it quite tragically degrades (almost literally) into a promotional video for PFLAG.
However, despite all these flaws, "The Truth About Jane" won me over within the first 20 minutes. It is truly a moving and wonderful film, with brief moments of brilliance.
The story of course revolves around the young teenaged girl Jane, played by the adorable Ellen Muth. Jane is like any other girl, except of course she's fallen in love with another girl, and discovers that she is a lesbian. Muth handles her role very well, creating a believable character with whom we can identify with. She very successfully portrays the very rough experience that coming-of-age and "growing pains" can be, especially when complicated by sexual orientation.
I like how, unlike so many other lesbian-ish characters I've seen in cinema, Jane is not bisexual, nor does she suddenly decides to start liking girls after a lifetime of very happily dating boys. One of my favourite scenes was early in the movie when the "cute" boy comes to court Jane as she sits in the cafeteria with her other female friends. Whilst her friends throw a fit about how hot the guy is and how Jane should date him, Jane honestly cannot see what the big deal is. In another very good lesbian-themed movie "Show Me Love", Ellin is portrayed as a someone who was just fine dating boys until Agnes showed up in her life, which to me seems contrived. Poor Jane goes through quite a bit in the course of this movie; not just coming-out pains, but also classic heartbreak that unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with adolescence, no matter who you are. "How much can a girl take?" you ask yourself, and wish that you could just hug her and take her in.
My only problem with her character was her occasional excess in disrespect and acting out against her parents which, while understandable given the circumstances, she could have shown a lot more maturity if she had resisted the urge to stay out drinking until 4:00AM. (Same problem I had with Agnes' character in "Show Me Love") But, I suppose it accurately portrays the rebelliousness of youth. Funny I think I missed that in my own life.
Jane's relationship with Tyler was believeable, touching, and heartbreaking. However, this movie isn't about a lesbian coming-of-age romance. For better or worse, the centrepiece of the story is Jane's relationship with her mother.
Stockard Channing, who plays Jane's mother, is a respected veteran actresses who excels at slow-paced "chick flick" dramas. In the movie she "shows her chops", as the expression goes. Channing brilliantly portrays the excruciating internal turmoil her character faces. Two conflicting emotions storm within her; her love for her daughter, and her disappointment and fear at what she is. Jane's mother is a very complex character and challenging to portray. She is neither a model PLFAG mom, nor is she a heartless fundamentalist who would cast her child out for being gay. She is "everymom", so to speak. Channing is up to the challenge however, and portrays ever nuance of her character with veteran skill. We are furious at what Channing's character does, yet we cannot hate her, because we understand why she does those things, and what she's going through. The mother has a good gay friend, yet cannot accept her daughter's homosexuality. That doesn't make her evil, it just demonstrates that she is a real person. Real people are not rational creatures. In fact I applaud the film for not having Jane's mother be spiteful, then jump to total acceptance. The film is almost..."unapologetic" at showing what the mother's reactions and actions, which at times are truly disgraceful. The mother is deeply flawed, and even by the end of the film it is clear she has not yet defeated all of her prejudices. Yet she tries. She is a product of her time, and we cannot simply blame her for everything. Jane's mother's interal journey is every bit as wrenching and tumultuous as that of Jane's, but at the end they both grow tremendously and develop as complex, 3-dimensional characters.
"The Truth About Jane" is far from a perfect movie. It is indeed preachy, some might even say it's propagandistic. Particularly I found the last act of the film to be a little excessive (you'll know what I mean when you see it). I would have chosen to be a bit more subtle about it if I had made the film. But I believe it's the kind of propaganda we need, for the sake of righeousness and the moral evolution of our society. I hope this movie makes it into the hands of some parents of gay children. And everything aside, it's a very touching and entertaining story about a girl's unique journey growing up, finding herself, and taking her place in the world."
An excellent movie for everyone: straight and gay
Wandering Bard | SF Bay Area | 06/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An excellent film depicting the pain teenagers go through when coming out. I bought it on a whim from a lesbian bookstore, and it touched my soul. Now, I recommend it to everyone. It's very sensitively written and beautifully performed without being overly dramatic. It shows how much strength it really takes to come out of the closet and how much destruction a single person's condemnation can cause."
Really great movie
Caryn | usa | 07/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i usually dont take time to fill out these reviews, but i think this movie is worth the time. it's a great movie, whether or not you're gay. i myself am a straight 17 yr old female, but it helped me see what others go through, and it helped my friend who recently realized she is a lesbian. everyone should see this, it teaches us about what so many people go through, as well as how we can be more tolerant. i recommend it to neone who likes to see movies about reality and life. :)"
Alicia Zieman | Chicago, IL USA | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never heard about this movie until this year when we watched it in GSA. (For those of you who don't know what GSA is, it stands for Gay-Straight Alliance). Now I am straight; however, many of my very good friends are gay or bi-sexual. I am also a very big supporter of rights; as well as, gay marriage becuase I don't see why if two people love each other and want to get married, why they should be denied that rights based on their gender and the opinions of closed-minded people.
This is a about a 15-year-old named Jane, who fiqures out that she is gay. She finds out this about herself when she meets a new girl at school named Taylor. Even though her mother's best friend is gay, that doesn't mean she doesn't freak when she hears that her daughter is gay. Jane eventually gets her mom to join PFLAG, which is Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.
The girl who plays Jane you might remember from the show DEAD LIKE ME. Her mom is played by Stockard Channing who is from GREASE and ISN"T SHE GREAT. This is a movie I recommend to anyone; however, if you are one of the closed-minded people who think that being gay is inhuman, this moive is not for you."