The most famous film (and perhaps one of the only ones) about lesbians and sperm donors is The Kids Are All Right, the Oscar-nominated film starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a couple whose children go looking for their donor. In that film, Moore’s character cheats on her wife and sleeps with the sperm donor, making the film incredibly divisive amongst gay and bisexual women.
Seeking Dolly Parton, is only marginally better in terms of how divisive it may be. The film, which gets its name from the type of rose rather than the famed country singer, features queer couple Celina and Charlie who make the decision to have a child together after two years of dating.
While Charlie is unsure about the whole baby-having idea, the two ask their gay male friend Jon to be a donor but after he backs out they turn to Josh, who is Celina’s ex-boyfriend and the man she was in a relationship with before she began dating Charlie.
If that sounds like a bit of a mess already then consider this: Josh is also still in love with Celina and sees his status as sperm donor as his way to win his ex-girlfriend back.
While his flirting is sure to grate, this is where Seeking Dolly Parton and The Kids Are All Right differ greatly; Celina and Josh don’t sleep together (despite his best efforts) as she puts her foot down and makes him know that her and Charlie’s relationship is the real deal. She also points out that he wouldn’t be trying it on if Charlie was a man.
That’s certainly a positive takeaway and a nice fork from the usual trope-y path and Seeking Dolly Parton does do Charlie and Celina’s relationship justice in many ways (many critics have called the pairing believable, romantic, and cute), but queer female viewers may take issue with the Josh focus that the film gradually begins to take.
In the latter section of the film, Seeking Dolly Parton becomes as much about Josh’s place in the story as much as it is Charlie and Celina’s. That could be a dealbreaker but at least all three characters are fleshed out enough for it to work well.
Seeking Dolly Parton will be available from Vimeo On Demand from September 25, 2015.