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SIFF: Any Day Now - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
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SIFF: Any Day Now
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Directing: A-
Acting: A
Writing: B
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+



Apparently Any Day Now is based on a true story. Sort of. Part of it is based on truth. Okay, the true part of it was the inspiration for the beginning of the story. The rest of the movie is totally invented.

It's amazing how knowledge of such things can alter and shape one's impression of a film. This one ends in a way that is a bit heartbreaking, in a way that feels like it must have been the result of being beholden to what really happened. Nope. How this movie ends has no relation to what really happened. So why make the decision to end it this way, I wonder? Perhaps to illustrate how this story likely would have ended in the late seventies. That part of it feels very real.

Not all of it feels real. People make decisions that seem in the moment almost like they make sense, but make less sense upon further reflection. That said, the several court room scenes really hit home the state of the gay rights movement in the late seventies and early eighties. People back then weren't exactly championing the right of gay couples to adopt children. And that's basically what's going on in this movie -- and in this movie, the child has Down Syndrome.

The two gay men who try to take custody of a teenage Marco (Isaac Leyva, a very natural actor) meet only a couple of days before Marco enters the picture. Rudy (Alan Cumming, wearing an odd shoulder-length hairdo the entirety of the film) happens to see Marco being neglected in the apartment down the hall. One day, Marco's junkie mother goes out and does not come back in the morning, so Rudy takes him in.

Rudy is a drag queen doing lip sync performances at a night club. The club is where he met Paul (Raising Hope's Garret Dillahunt), and learned that Paul is a lawyer. Rudy calls Paul asking for advice, then barges into his office and in so doing puts some cracks in Paul's closet door. Paul's solution for getting a judge to grant emergency custody to Isaac is to have Rudy and Isaac move in with them, so Isaac will have his own bedroom. This means moving in two days after meeting. What are they, lesbians?

There are many details that can be picked at in this movie, uncovering how unrealistic it is. A lot of them are easily overlooked because of excellent performances. Even Cumming's delivery as the "flamboyant" -- yet tough -- drag queen is unusually understated for a part of this nature. It may occasionally be difficult to believe the things they do, but it's always easy to believe who they are.

Paul gets outed by a colleague, who subsequently challenges their claim to Marco in court -- even though Marco's mother signed paperwork handing him over. There's a fair amount of infuriating behavior regarding assumptions that exposure to the "homosexual lifestyle" will damage and confuse the child. It's the same shit we've been hearing for ages -- but in 1979, when much of the movie is set, these ideas were effectively conventional wisdom. If the idea was to make us feel sad for the people who lived through those times, it works.

That said, the implied unfairness of Marco being taken from Paul and Rudy is undermined by Marco's mother being released from prison and asking for the child back. Naturally the court grants her wish. That could happen easily even now. Maybe not quite as easily -- this woman does cocaine in her living room, after all -- but courts still favor the mother. It's tragic for Marco, sure; but we're clearly meant to feel that it's tragic for Rudy and Paul too. Gay or not, they don't really have any default claim to this child. Also: is his mother really Marco's only family? No other character even asks the question.

So, there are some plot holes. A few turns of events that happen too tidily. But it's plenty of food for thought. A portrait of the past can shed light on the present, and this is a movie that does that well. Director and co-writer Travis Fine gets solid performances out of his entire cast, and offers a flawed but moving story of love in the face of adversity, right up to the bitter end.

any day now


Overall: B+
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