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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 14, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 50
Melodramatic Any Day Now sings a stirring song
Arts & Entertainment
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Melodramatic Any Day Now sings a stirring song

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

ANY DAY NOW
Opens December 14


Rudy (Alan Cumming) is a flamboyant drag queen living in Los Angeles. His boyfriend, closeted city district attorney Paul (Garret Dillahunt), is a reserved and mannered man, finding himself being slowly and assuredly drawn out of his shell by his more outspoken lover. The pair have made an undeniable connection, their bond bordering on unbreakable, and even though the world at large cannot know of their relationship, both men are virtually certain they are going to spend the rest of their lives finding comfort in one another's arms.

Enter Marco (Isaac Leyva), a 14-year-old boy suffering from Down syndrome, neglected and abused by his drug-addled mother. After she is arrested, Rudy decides to take the teenager in, showing him the type of care and attention he's never known before. While Paul is at first apprehensive about this addition to their lives, soon he, too, comes to adore and dote on Marco, the duo giving the youngster the one thing he's never had the good fortune to know until now - a family.

RELEVANT TO TODAY
Set in the 1970s, Any Day Now is a sturdy, decidedly topical melodrama of family and companionship that while following a rather traditional narrative manages to subtly and convincingly speak volumes. The courtroom dynamics of the piece - Rudy and Paul find themselves fighting for their right to care for Marco after their relationship is publicly exposed - are strikingly immediate, and while times have certainly changed the policies, concepts, ideas, and laws being examined are still hot-button issues in the here-and-now.

All of this can get a little heavy-handed at times, that goes without saying. Loosely (very, very loosely) based on a true story, George Arthur Bloom and director Travis Fine's (The Space Between) script does have a definite agenda and doesn't mind getting right in the viewer's face a time or two in order to pursue it. There is a moderate air of schmaltz wafting over all of this, the unabashedly overly emotional climax intent on drawing out tears and turning people's minds to its ideas no matter what.

But as a big a problem as this may seem on the surface, in reality most of the issues I have with the film don't matter much. Fine goes out of his way to make his characters, including the steely-eyed judge (Frances Fisher) overseeing their case, as three-dimensional as possible, showcasing the many shades of grey hiding inside this superficially black-and-white issue. By and large his direction is subtle, more often than not keeping the musical cues to a minimum and allowing the characters and their dialogue to eloquently speak for themselves.

CUMMING A STANDOUT
More importantly, he's found in Cumming the perfect actor to inhabit his central character. Rudy could easily have been nothing more than a stereotypical '70s caricature of a Gay man - a prancing, mincing annoyance that would be insufferable if it weren't so insulting. But that never happens, Cumming finding all of the man's intricacies and complications, presenting them in a way that feels devastatingly authentic. It's a triumphant performance, easily one of the actor's absolute best, and by all rights should be in the conversation as one of 2012's finest. He travels complex and multifaceted roads lesser actors would have stumbled trying to traverse, and by the time the spotlight fades off of him the only thing I wanted was for Cumming to climb right back into it.

The rest of the cast is good as well - Dillahunt, Leyva, and an intriguingly cast, somewhat against type, Gregg Henry in particular. As for the film itself, the road it travels isn't going to come as a surprise to many people, and by the time it ends it's safe to say copious tissues will be required to wipe away the onslaught of tears. The movie doesn't tell a new story, and it wears its opinions on its sleeve, but that doesn't make it any less emotionally effective. Director Fine does a glorious job bringing this story to life, and as melodramas go Any Day Now sings a song of commitment and family well worth singing along with.

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