[Review] – Any Day Now

21 Dec

Any Day Now

Title: Any Day Now
Year: 2012
Director: Travis Fine
Writers: Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom
Starring: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva, Frances Fisher
MPAA Rating: R, sexual content, language and some drug use
Runtime: 97 min
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Metacritic: 60

Any Day Now is a film that stars two actors who are currently rocking their roles in two of the best shows network television has to offer. On the one hand you have Alan Cumming, twice Emmy-nominated for his role as Eli Gold on CBSThe Good Wife, on the other you have Garret Dillahunt, who stars as Burt Chance on on Fox‘s Raising Hope, the kind of show that won’t really garner that much Emmy attention (he’s also had supporting roles in some terrific movies like No Country For Old Men and, most recently, both Looper and Killing Them Softly this year). They’re two very good actors who I really like, so I was intrigued to see them team up on the big screen.

The film is based on a real story that touches upon some social and legal issues that will no doubt echo deeply in today’s world. It’s set in the late 1970’s, with Mr. Cumming playing Rudy Donatello, a struggling musician and drag performer in a West Hollywood gay nightclub, and Mr. Dillahunt plays Paul Fleiger, a closeted district attorney. They begin a relationship that gets all the more real when Marco comes into their lives, a 14-year-old with Down syndrome who Rudy finds alone, abandoned after his mother was arrested.

Rudy enlists Paul to help him gain custody of Marco, and they visit Marco’s mother in prison and get her to sign over temporary guardianship papers. The real issue happens when the unconventional living arrangement and relationship between Rudy and Paul is called into question by authorities, a legal system threatening to take away the boy who sees these two men as parents and who taught them so much about love and family.

This is a pretty good movie, by the way. It’s undeniable that it’s a bit too manipulative with the sentimentality of it all at times, and indeed melodramatic trappings are aplenty in this whole story, but the characters here transcend those limitations and the whole thing just works far more than it doesn’t and I was left really satisfied with what this film brought to the table.

The whole legal battle is brilliantly done here because it shows how outrageous this whole issue is. Here is a boy that nobody else wants that has finally found with these two men a loving family, and yet the hideously stupid institutionalized homophobia present in the legal system poses a real threat to destroy all of that. Even nowadays gay couples can have a hard time adopting, just imagine how nearly impossible it was three decades ago. That’s a big part of what Any Day Now is trying to do, tackle those horrible prejudices that, yes, were much more present during the 70’s, but that still can stir their fair share of controversy and outrage nowadays. We sometimes need to see the big bomb fire burning to realize that we still have a few stray flames going on today that we still need to extinguish.

Whatever success this movie achieves, though, is not because of its story but because of its lead performances. Because it’s undeniably true that this film tethers on the mawkish and melodramatic, and it’s always very easy to telegraph exactly what direction the film is going to take and exactly what each character is supposed to represent and what we must think about it all. The performances from Mr. Cumming and Mr. Dillahunt are what makes this film something more and something worth watching.

Mr. Cumming as Rudy is feisty, the kind of man that just goes into whatever situation life throws at him with this sort of reckless abandon, that speaks volumes both about the courage he has to defy the status quo and about the hurt he’s experienced at the very hands of it; Mr. Cumming’s performance is honestly a thing of beauty. Mr. Dillahunt has the far less showy role, but he delivers a wonderfully understated kind of performance that balances the whole thing out perfectly and just makes it all feel like these are real people in a real situation.

Their performances, by the way, are also what got me over the one thing that kind of felt too forced through this whole thing. Because the whole partnership between Rudy and Paul seems too idealized at times, you can’t really buy into this loud and rebellious homosexual man beginning a relationship with this far more conservative and closeted one so fast and them being so quick to battle a legal system. It works because of the performances, especially because of the one Mr. Dillahunt gives which makes you buy into Paul facing the moment in which he’s exposed and has to fight in court openly for both his and Rudy’s rights. You buy into it because you believe that Rudy got that fire out of Paul; lesser actors would have failed horribly at portraying that the right way.

It’s a good film with heartfelt scenes thanks to smart screenplay, co-written by director Travis Fine alongside George Arthur Bloom, and a pair of beautifully realized lead performances that make this sweet whirlwind romance so real. Some of the plot devices may seem a tad forced, that’s why I’m not giving this one a better grade, but the fact remains that this is still a powerful film that’s talking about some issues that are still hugely relevant in today’s world, and one that knows how to sidestep most of the melodramatic trappings, both thanks to the lead performances as well as to the sensitive direction at hand.

Grade: B

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One Response to “[Review] – Any Day Now”

  1. colincarman December 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Liked this more than me despite its noble cause; ah, I was trying to place Dillahunt: yes, the slaughtered guard in NO CO…nice

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