Inside Out ’24: Unusually Normal

Directed by Colette Johnson-Vosberg, Unusually Normal steps into the lives of ‘Canada’s gayest family’. Consisting of three generations of gay women in the same family, the film invites the Fords to open their home (and their stories) as they explore the meaning of ‘normal’. As they speak about their journeys, Unusually Normal becomes a testament to their resiliency in a world that struggles to accept them for who they are.

By simply allowing the family to speak in their own terms, Johnson-Vosberg offers us a portrait of women who have been through much yet still stand together. Candid and outspoken, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Fords. Madison shares her experiences growing up with lesbian parents with affection. Karen, Cathy, Anna & Tracey share the challenges that they’ve faced and the love they’ve found with earnestness. And the ‘gay grandmothers’ are absolutely adorable.

What’s more, each story almost feels like a history lesson as the biases they’ve experience show how the response to the LGBTQ community has changed over the decades. Whereas they once were forced to hide in shame, the family now has the freedom to be themselves. (In fact, the positive response to their double wedding in 2018 is telling.)

But the heart of Unusually Normal beats within its title. For example, the definition of ‘normalcy’ in families usually comes with some assumptions about gender and sexuality. But the Ford family doesn’t fall into these cultural stereotypes. Instead, ‘Canada’s Gayest Family’ reveals themselves to be normal in every single way, outside of the sexuality of its members. Relationships are solid, parenting is rooted in love and each one of them works hard to support the family unit. These are the building blocks of health within the family unit. By showing their health here, Unusually Normal challenges the concept of normalcy as a whole. And invites us to do the same.

Unusually Normal is playing at Inside Out ’24. For more information, click here.

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