Lemon Tree

This Israeli film follows the story of a Palestinian widow who ekes out a living from the lemon grove on the property where she has lived her entire life. Until, one day, the Israeli defense minister moves in across the road, and his security detail decides the lemon grove is a threat. The widow won’t give up without a fight, ultimately finding a Palestinian lawyer who takes her case all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. The movie offers a clear-eyed view both of the casual Israeli bigotry towards Palestinians, as well as the worse-than-useless Palestinian authorities. The film, ultimately, is a metaphor for the entire Israeli occupation. On DVD.

The Kids Are All Right

This film about the teenage children of a lesbian couple who want to meet their biological father offers a fascinating look at gay families from a matter-of-fact perspective. The two women operate, in many ways, as a conventional hetero couple (one is a successful professional, the other a stay-at-home mom trying to start a business).  And the sudden appearance of their sperm donor isn’t so much different from the dilemmas of many post-divorce hetero families.  But their family life is different in important ways too — two women are making the rules, so nobody’s riding a motorcycle.  And what do gay parents say when it looks like one of their kids might be gay? Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are terrific as the two parents, as is Mark Ruffalo as the warm, sensitve guy who forgot to grow up. The actors playing the kids are all right too.