Monday, September 1, 2008

The Truth About Jane

The episode description on my DVR for The Truth About Jane was awesomely vague. "A mother struggles to accept that her daughter..." That was it! How intriguing!

The obvious favorite here is that the daughter is a lesbian. The movie stars Stockard Channing and she's the Grand Poobah of the gay Lifetime movies. I had my fingers crossed that Jane was a Wiccan. I think that would have made for an excellent two hours.

We open with Stockard Channing, Janice, shitting out a baby. Then the baby starts narrating. Argh. She recalls her parents checking up on her in her crib when she was an infant. "From the very beginning, the spotlight was on me." Jesus Christ. Shoddy, shoddy narration.

We flash forward to the year 2000. The daughter, Jane, is starting high school. It's never explained why she's starting high school at the cusp of 16. We're just supposed to roll with it.

Jane is kind of anti-social but seems normal enough. She has some catty friends and the boys seem to like her. And there's a "cool" English teacher who talks about love a lot. (And calls Emily Bronte's classic novel "Withering Heights." Arrrrrgh) But Jane just isn't interested in all of that crap. Until she meets Taylor. Yup, total lesbo.

Taylor is more mature. You can tell because she often has an exposed midriff. She has an abusive mom and is well-versed in the ways of lesbian. She makes out with Jane. Then, when Taylor's mom is out of town, Jane goes over to Taylor's candle lit room and they do it.

Jane doesn't want to be gay, so she breaks it off with Taylor. Taylor is hurt and avoids Jane. This breaks Jane's heart and this is when she realizes she's gay. Her English teacher, who isn't given many details, tells Jane to write a note explaining why she did what she did and why she regrets it. Jane also seeks out her mom's gay friend -- RuPaul sans drag! -- and he tells her it will be their secret and that she should come out whenever she is comfortable.

The comfortable part is thrown out the window when Jane is babysitting for her little brother. Taylor comes over and reconciles with Jane via the ol' make-out. The brother notices and starts telling people at school. Someone goes as far as to place an anonymous phone call to Jane's mom.

The next day, at dinner, Jane's brother calls her a dyke. Jane, with the strength of ten dykes, grabs her brother, throws him across the table, and beats the shit out of him. She also decides this is a good time as any to come out. Her dad thinks it's a phase and is worried. Her mom is super pissed. So pissed that her friends are disappointed in her for not being more accepting.

When Jane and Taylor skip out to a local gay bar (they let in 16-year-olds?), Jane gets grounded for a month. Jane is also forced to go to therapy to cure the gayness. This is all a bit too much for Taylor and she dumps Jane. When Jane breaks down (I have never seen a face so wet with tears), the cool English teacher, Ms. Walcott, again tries to lay down some advice. She also let's slip that, surprise!, she too is a lesbian.

Jane sneaks out of the house again and heads for the nightclub. There, some gay dude with glowsticks gives her a beer. When Jane gets home at 4am drunk, her parents decide to send her to boarding school.

At this point, Janice is truly out of control. She is reveling in Taylor dumping Jane and is all too eager to kick Jane out of the house. Her friends don't want anything to do with her anymore. And when Jane lets slip that Ms. Walcott is a lesbian too, she goes to her classroom and threatens to report her to the school board.

So Jane runs away to Ms. Walcott's and talks about suicide and running away. Walcott goes to Jane's parents and lays down the law. Janice agrees to try and accept her daughter and starts attending PFLAG meetings.

Even though the house is getting friendlier, Janice is still having problems. Janice tells her family that PFLAG is having a gay rally but that she isn't yet comfortable enough to attend. Everyone gets speechless and their mouths are agape. It's like Janice just casually mentioned having a million abortions. I mean, sure Janice has been a monster and lost the benefit of the doubt, but let her handle this at her own pace.

Anyways, there's a rally and Janice shows up at the last minute. The end.

By the way, programming note, I am going to combine ACTUAL AWESOMENESS and IRONIC AWESOMENESS into one 20-point category. My mind is so warped by Lifetime that I no longer know if I'm am laughing with or laughing at these movies.

AWESOMENESS: 13

The movie started out so very poorly. The narration. The lack of plot development. But once we get into lesbian mode, things fall into place nicely. The sweet gay nightclub with the pulsating techno beats and glowsticks. Jane's nervous breakdowns. All very entertaining.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 8

I have never seen The O.C., but I guess Kelly Rowan, who played the English teacher, was a big part of that cast. And of course there was Stockard Channing and RuPaul.

But what really earns the points for me was Jane. Jane was played Ellen Muth. I recognized her, but I couldn't place it. And then, three quarters of the way through the movie, I figured it out. Muth played Young Selena in Dolores Claiborne. She's the girl who gives her dad a handjob on the boat. Very pleasant scene.

Anyhoo, I love it when I sort of recognize someone and then the light bulb goes off.

LIFETIMENESS: 3

The mom is the villain? Where's the fun in that. The points come from the mom having a gay and black friend and for Taylor's exposed midriff.

GRAND TOTAL: 24

The first 20 minutes were awful. The movie couldn't find its momentum after that. Not a total waste of time, but I still would have preferred it if Jane were Wiccan.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie on French tv!

Thanks for the update.

Amanda said...

Stockard Channing must have delivered an amazing performance if it was convincing... she really seems like the kind of lady I would confide in regarding my burgeoning lesbianism. She seems like she would sympathize.

Denizen of Tennallytown said...

"She's the girl who gives her dad a handjob on the boat. Very pleasant scene."

Are you serious?

Rusty said...

About the handjob? Yes. The pleasantness...well it depends on your sense of humor.

HRH King Friday XIII said...

SArah Palin = walking, talkin Lifetime movie.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Please, please tell me you are on this.

Taren said...

OMG I love you! A blog about Lifetime movies? I think I've found my mothership. I can't wait to see if you've talked about more of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

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