MRR Movie Review: Any Day Now

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A drama film based on real events from the late 1970's, Any Day Now highlights the social and legal issues of that time period. When a mentally handicapped teenager (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned, a gay couple (played by Alan Cumming & Garret Dillahunt) takes him in and becomes the family he's never had. But once the unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men must fight a biased legal system to adopt the child they have come to love as their own.
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Movie Review: "Any Day Now"

-- Rating: R (language, sexual content, some drug use)
Length: 97 minutes
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Directed by: Travis Fine
Genre: Drama

The struggle of gays and lesbians to gain acceptance in society has made many strides in recent years, making it easy to forget that just a short time ago, that acceptance was hard to come by. "Any Day Now" takes the audience back to the late 1970s, when many gay men were in the closet because they feared society's reaction. Rudy (Alan Cumming) is a man in his forties who knows the risks involved in coming out but does so anyway because he wants to live his life out in the open.

Rudy wishes his bravery in the face of social uncertainty would rub off on his partner, Paul (Garret Dillahunt), who hides his sexuality from almost everyone in his life. Despite this disparity, the two are very much in love and try to make things work. Their relationship is tested when they find out that their neighbor, Marco (Isaac Leyva), a teenager with Down syndrome, has been abandoned by his drug addict mother after she is arrested for prostitution. They take the boy in, and Rudy in particular quickly bonds with him.

The conflict arrives when the authorities find out about their rather unconventional living arrangement. They have already become a family of three and refuse to give Marco up, despite the fact that they are being threatened with lawsuits and jail time. Paul, who is a lawyer, tries to build a case for them to adopt but finds every legal avenue blocked by a justice system that does not recognize the rights of two gay men to have a family. The stress of the situation begins to take a toll on Rudy and Paul, whose relationship was already somewhat rocky. Their deep affection keeps them together, but as the fight to keep Marco becomes public, Paul is faced with the prospect of having to come out of the closet. This adds more strain to the foundation of their relationship, which threatens to crumble.

The film is set in the 1970s , around the time writer George Arthur Bloom wrote the story it is based on. The story was adapted to film by Travis Fine, a former television actor who also directed the film. The fact that the source material was written in that era lends it authenticity; all of the problems and reactions are real. As Rudy and Paul face a society that doesn't understand homosexuality and can't fathom two men adopting a son, the challenges they face are poignant and believable.

Cumming is perfectly cast as Rudy. He has the ability to express both joy and sorrow, often in the same sentence. The character is put through an emotional wringer as his somewhat rocky relationship begins to crumble in the face of the adversity caused by the adoption. Rudy's scenes with Marco are heartfelt and filled with chemistry that is hard to find between two actors who aren't playing loving interests. The audience can't help but root for Rudy to be able to keep Marco, even if it means the end of Rudy and Paul's life together. Equally stunning in his role is Leyva, a first-time actor with Down syndrome. He plays the part of Marco with the acting chops of a veteran. The scenes where he leaves his apartment to take walks at night while his mother trades sex for drugs are particularly heartbreaking, even though Leyva only uses facial expressions to convey the character's emotions. Without words, he skillfully expresses what this teenager raised in a loveless home is going through, which makes Marco's happiness living with Paul and Ryan all the more touching.

The ability to mix high interpersonal drama and comedy is something that comes naturally to very few. Fortunately, director Fine is able to mix them to perfection in the film, possibly due to his background as an actor. Fine took a ten-year hiatus from the entertainment industry before coming back as a writer and director, but the time away clearly didn't inhibit his talent. The way he frames the actors, particularly Cumming and Leyva during their scenes together, adds to the story. He is also unafraid to avoid formulaic drama in favor of something that is unflinchingly real and often bittersweet.

Rating: 4 out of 5