Writer-director Travis Fine’s film ‘Any Day Now’ has so much heart; you cannot help but root for the main characters. Set in 1970s West Hollywood, the story is loosely based on actual events. It’s a cross between ‘La Cage aux Folles’ and ‘Kramer vs. Kramer.’ In a nutshell, it’s about gay adoption. It’s a timely story that could have easily taken place today since the Supreme Court is currently looking at same-sex marriage cases. The film takes on universal themes of love, family and parenthood with an unconventional twist. If homosexuality offends you, this film is probably not suited for you. If you believe that a happy home comes in many forms, Fine’s compelling drama is rewarding on many levels.
The story is about a flamboyant drag queen Rudy (Alan Cumming) and a closeted leisure suit-wearing District Attorney Paul (Garret Dillahunt). They pick up each other at a club Rudy works at as a female impersonator. There is a gritty scene with the two of them behind a steamy-car window. A cop draws his gun at them when suddenly Paul switches into lawyer mode. It’s a powerful scene as the cop realizes he is in over his head. Their one-night stand might have ended there if it weren’t for Marco (Isaac Leyvva) who is a teenager with Down syndrome in Rudy’s ghetto apartment complex. Marco’s druggie mother gets arrested for prostitution and Rudy quickly realizes this kid most likely will slip through the cracks and be institutionalized for the rest of his life.
When Rudy asks Paul for legal advice, he at first understandably does not want to get involved with the drama. He has a good job at the district attorney’s office. When Rudy barges into the DA’s office because Paul has been ignoring his calls, Fine shows how Paul must come to grips with his gayness. He risks a lot but it is an important step for him to find happiness in his life. He makes up a story to his co-workers that Rudy is his cousin. Eventually, Rudy and Marco move into Paul’s place and they create a safe and loving home for Marco. There is a flashback home movie sequence that perfectly shows Marco being happy with his new family life.
The story isn’t with its faults. There are court room scenes that seem a bit much when Rudy mouths off out of frustration. Still, Cumming’s performance is without question very powerful. At times he comes out with a tough New York accent from Queens and at other times, you see the sadness on his face from being kicked around and ridiculed all of his life. It’s about two outcasts that desperately do everything in their power to give the boy a home. In court, Paul sums it up best to the judge, “Nobody wants a short, fat, mentally handicapped kid.” It is in these scenes, the story feels so real and moving.
And then there is Marco, played by an actor that has Down syndrome in real life. You grow to like this kid through the course of the movie. He doesn’t talk much but when he smiles and says what is on his mind, it hits you. He is the sweetest young man that just wants to have a home. Rudy and Paul are not perfect either but who cares, Marco is happy with his new family. To make matters worse, the boy’s mother gets out of prison and for some unexplained reason, wants custody of him again. It seems she does this just out of spite. If the third act doesn’t make you a bit misty-eyed, you might want to check yourself for a pulse.
Fine does an excellent job making us feel the same pain the lead characters do in the film. I applaud the brave performances of Cumming, Leyva and Dillahunt. This film tackles important issues that are still being fought in our court system today. ‘Any Day Now’ will open exclusively at The Flicks theatre on Feb. 8th. For more details about the movie, please visit Music Box Films at http://www.musicboxfilms.com/any-day-now-movies-58.php.