Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Any Day Now

This gay custody-battle drama beautifully delivers on every level, especially emotionally.

Dec 11, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1369008-Any_Day_Now_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Set in 1979 Los Angeles, Any Day Now is about the custody battle of a gay couple, Rudy (Alan Cumming) and Paul (Garret Dillahunt), to adopt Marco (Isaac Leyva), a teenager with Down syndrome. Flamboyant Rudy is a drag performer, and Paul, who he’s just met, is a closeted district attorney. Opposites attract, and when Marco, Rudy’s neighbor, drops into his life as a result of his drug-addicted mother being jailed, the three form a little family. However, in a very anti-gay 1970s world, their happiness is continually threatened.

A high level of intelligence and sensitivity distinguish this film, lifting it above soap-opera level and, indeed, way above most gay indie efforts. Director/co-writer Travis Fine has both those aforementioned qualities in spades, along with the essential one of good taste. The 1970s era is perfectly recreated in terms of louche-to-uptight ambiances, vibrant club music, and somewhat disfiguring hair and clothes. The budding relationship between Rudy and Paul is delineated with a wonderfully identifiable warmth and humor, with their interactions having a true, funny complexity that is rare onscreen, regardless of sexuality. The addition of Marco into their mix, due to Fine’s fine approach and the clarity of the characterizations, does not seem any mere mawkish, calculated plot complication, and indeed possesses a certain authentic inevitability. Rachel Morrison’s lovely photography is at all times a treat, finding beauty in unlikely spots in Rudy’s squalid apartment, as well as what seems an eternally dusky Los Angeles.

Leyva has a face-splitting grin and an adorably winning personality which makes you have to stifle a genuine need to go “Aww” after his every scene. (You will definitely need a hanky or at least a sleeve to wipe away some tears, which this film devastatingly earns in the most honest of ways.) Dillahunt has already proved what a superbly attractive farceur he is on TV’s delightful “Raising Hope,” but shows here what a very good dramatic, as well as romantic, actor he is as well. The scruffy chemistry he shares with Cumming is real, and together they make one of the most memorable of all gay movie couples.

Cumming has his best screen outing yet, for the first time really exhibiting the ferocious charisma he displayed onstage as the emcee in Cabaret on Broadway. The movie is periodically lifted into another level approaching the sublime when he performs in the club as Rudy, at one point crooning the France Joli disco hit “Come to Me” with thrilling passion. He makes Rudy a complex yet simply determined-to-be-happy survivor, intensely likeable. You root for him unabashedly the way one rarely does for any film character and, with his tangle of long black hair, humorously rueful acceptance of life’s lemons as well as lemonade, irrepressible joie de vivre and child-nurturing ways here, he reminds me of no one so much as Anna Magnani—and there can be no higher praise than that.



Film Review: Any Day Now

This gay custody-battle drama beautifully delivers on every level, especially emotionally.

Dec 11, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1369008-Any_Day_Now_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Set in 1979 Los Angeles, Any Day Now is about the custody battle of a gay couple, Rudy (Alan Cumming) and Paul (Garret Dillahunt), to adopt Marco (Isaac Leyva), a teenager with Down syndrome. Flamboyant Rudy is a drag performer, and Paul, who he’s just met, is a closeted district attorney. Opposites attract, and when Marco, Rudy’s neighbor, drops into his life as a result of his drug-addicted mother being jailed, the three form a little family. However, in a very anti-gay 1970s world, their happiness is continually threatened.

A high level of intelligence and sensitivity distinguish this film, lifting it above soap-opera level and, indeed, way above most gay indie efforts. Director/co-writer Travis Fine has both those aforementioned qualities in spades, along with the essential one of good taste. The 1970s era is perfectly recreated in terms of louche-to-uptight ambiances, vibrant club music, and somewhat disfiguring hair and clothes. The budding relationship between Rudy and Paul is delineated with a wonderfully identifiable warmth and humor, with their interactions having a true, funny complexity that is rare onscreen, regardless of sexuality. The addition of Marco into their mix, due to Fine’s fine approach and the clarity of the characterizations, does not seem any mere mawkish, calculated plot complication, and indeed possesses a certain authentic inevitability. Rachel Morrison’s lovely photography is at all times a treat, finding beauty in unlikely spots in Rudy’s squalid apartment, as well as what seems an eternally dusky Los Angeles.

Leyva has a face-splitting grin and an adorably winning personality which makes you have to stifle a genuine need to go “Aww” after his every scene. (You will definitely need a hanky or at least a sleeve to wipe away some tears, which this film devastatingly earns in the most honest of ways.) Dillahunt has already proved what a superbly attractive farceur he is on TV’s delightful “Raising Hope,” but shows here what a very good dramatic, as well as romantic, actor he is as well. The scruffy chemistry he shares with Cumming is real, and together they make one of the most memorable of all gay movie couples.

Cumming has his best screen outing yet, for the first time really exhibiting the ferocious charisma he displayed onstage as the emcee in Cabaret on Broadway. The movie is periodically lifted into another level approaching the sublime when he performs in the club as Rudy, at one point crooning the France Joli disco hit “Come to Me” with thrilling passion. He makes Rudy a complex yet simply determined-to-be-happy survivor, intensely likeable. You root for him unabashedly the way one rarely does for any film character and, with his tangle of long black hair, humorously rueful acceptance of life’s lemons as well as lemonade, irrepressible joie de vivre and child-nurturing ways here, he reminds me of no one so much as Anna Magnani—and there can be no higher praise than that.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

War Story
Film Review: War Story

Infuriatingly slow, enervating and basically empty contemplation of war's impact, and a waste of the formidable talent of a gallant Catherine Keener. More »

Happy Christmas
Film Review: Happy Christmas

Joe Swanberg's latest feature is a collection of strong individual scenes and performances that never quite finds its statement of purpose. More »

Very Good Girls
Film Review: Very Good Girls

More of a meandering, misguided path than a road to hell, Naomi Foner’s directing debut, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as 18-year-old BFFs, is similarly filled with good intentions. More »

The Kill Team
Film Review: The Kill Team

Marine Adam Winfield goes on trial in a case in which U.S. soldiers murdered innocent Afghanis. Strong subject marred by poor narrative choices. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Get On Up
Film Review: Get On Up

Chadwick Boseman is sensational in this multi-faceted portrait of troubled, pioneering soul-music giant James Brown. More »

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here