Hot Docs 2019: Focus on Julia Ivanova: Our Review of ‘My Dads, My Moms and Me’

Hot Docs 2019: Focus on Julia Ivanova: Our Review of ‘My Dads, My Moms and Me’

Happy children are all alike until they’re not, as My Dads, My Moms And Me shows us. Unassuming as it is, this documentary’s first act shows us its young subjects having fun. Cue the idyllic music, hinting at the utopia where these kids can be around their LGBT parents without judgment.

Today, half of the subjects are teens. But it also switches to 2007. A sequel to Fatherhood Dreams, this shows the parents dealing with being LGBT, as well as caring for more than their children. Pets and real estate figure largely in this documentary, those factors complicating the family dynamic.

My Dads… doesn’t shy around with these families’ unconventional natures. It gives enough screen time to the children’s biological or surrogate families. There is some judgment in these scenes depicting these surrogates. But for the most part it shows them exhibiting the same unconditional love that the LGBT parents show.

This movie focuses on three families at a time when their legality was nascent. The candidate pool for this film is understandably small. One couple decided to open up a Meetup group for LGBT parents and received no response. It doesn’t help that one of the families move from Vancouver to Halifax.

That said, the whiteness here is conspicuous for something depicting Vancouver. One of the parents and her children have mobility issues. That issue feels like a spoiler, and director and producer Julia Ivanova could have handled this better. Revealing this in the beginning could have helped the film.

Nonetheless, the sight of mostly well balanced children in parents feels like a relief. These LGBT subjects made seismic changes when they decided to take on the role of being parents. And now, despite some big problems, these children can move on to having dreams that they can achieve.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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