All Aboard Rosie's Family Cruise (DVD)
All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise
demonstrates that gay families can be just as loving, sharing, exasperating, and embarrassing as heterosexual ones. A documentary of the Atlantic Ocean cruise sponsored by Rosie O'Donnell, All Aboard!
features rich, compelling interviews with gay couples and their children, with brief musical numbers (some sweet, some cloying, some campy) and standup comedy sprinkled here and there. The parents include football players, hairdressers, and police officers, while the kids range from infants to rambunctious teenagers. While part of the point of the documentary is that these families are as typical as families with male and female parents, it's astonishing how self-possessed and open these teenagers are; having faced prejudice all of their lives, they've had to define themselves in ways most teens take for granted--and the result is a decidedly atypical poise and perception. But perhaps the most striking moment of the documentary comes at the very beginning: As the families come on board for the cruise and find themselves in an environment without judgment, the relief on their faces is palpable. All Aboard!
is deceptively simple; it seems to unfold without shape, but by the end it's covered an impressive array of topics, both personal and political, without ever feeling preachy or forced. --Bret Fetzer