"}
Film

Any Day Now

My two dads

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A child with Down syndrome unexpectedly ends up in the lap of a flamboyant drag singer and his closeted district-attorney boyfriend in Any Day Now, the sensitive sophomore outing of helmer Travis Fine (The Space Between). This intimate character drama explores gay adoption rights, or rather the lack thereof, in 1970s Los Angeles without ever becoming preachy or pushing for contemporary relevance. A stellar performance by Alan Cumming as the cross-dressing crooner-cum-caretaker is the film’s biggest asset.

Rudy Donatello (Cumming) is the lead lip-syncher of drag act at an Los Angeles gay club. During a performance, he spots a handsome guy slouching at a bar. Before you can say “sexual charge,” Rudy is servicing the man, a district attorney named Paul (Garrett Dillahunt), in a car, followed by a short, funny scene involving the police that quickly establishes the men’s main traits and complementary natures.

It could have been a one-night thing, but when Rudy finds Marco (Isaac Leyva), the Down-syndrome son of his drug-addict neighbor, Marianna (Jamie Anne Allman), abandoned at home at night, his first instinct is to take Marco to a man of the law: Paul. With Marianna arrested and Marco escaping from the care of social services to “go home,” Rudy finds he feels the need to look after the child, despite the fact that the Queens-born singer doesn’t know Marco very well and is broke.

Fine, reworking a screenplay written almost four decades ago by George Arthur Bloom, successfully combines character flourishes and narrative development in almost every scene, turning the movie into a forward-barreling story populated with fully rounded people.

The two men decide to petition for temporary custody, and when the pragmatic Paul suggests they tell the judge that they live together (since Paul is more stable financially), the more impulsive Rudy immediately seizes the opportunity and says he’ll move into Paul’s place with Marco. The short scene highlights the deeper needs and desires of both; though their relationship started with a sexual spark, it’s the shared care of their charge that brings them together.

The film’s second half details the couple’s battle for permanent custody after Marco’s mother is released. Though Marianna’s a convicted lawbreaker and drug fiend who abandoned her offspring, the judges have a hard time believing the child would be better off living with two homosexuals. Period setting is specific enough to see these problems in context, and Fine refrains from pushing analogies to the current gay adoption debate beyond what naturally arises from the material. Instead, the helmer successfully casts the couple’s fight as a test of character, thus ensuring Any Day Now is primarily a story of people, not issues.

Acting from beneath the least-flattering haircut this side of the Bee Gees, Cumming delivers what is possibly his best performance to date. That Rudy can sling hilarious zingers at anyone in the room without ever coming off as a snooty, acid-tongued diva is but the least of Cumming’s accomplishments in a performance that also delivers the necessary warmth and combat strength. Some well-performed songs, including an aching rendition of “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” add another layer of poignancy.

Opposite Cumming, Dillahunt (Raising Hope, Deadwood) is a more reserved but no less determined presence. As their adopted son of sorts, Leyva makes the most of the film’s least-developed lead role, with some of the supporting characters more memorable, including Don Franklin as a straight-talking lawyer, Kelli Williams as a sympathetic teacher and Frances Fisher as an unyielding judge.

Shot with modest means on the Red camera, with a postproduction finish that gives a look reminiscent of period-appropriate 16mm, the film is convincing as a period piece in an unfussy and slightly generic way. Song selections by music supervisor PJ Bloom (Glee), the son of the movie’s original screenwriter, is aces, effortlessly evoking the era and what’s at stake for the characters, without resorting to too-obvious cliches.

Ticket Cascadia
More Film...
Doctober
Handling the truth

By now, everyone knows that when I’m not executing my Cascadia Weekly duties, I’m moonlighting as a projectionist at the Pickford Film Center.

While the Pickford is currently offering its customary selection of top-notch indie movies, behind the scenes, all conversation revolves…

more »
London Road
A musical murder mystery

The techniques of verbatim theater go back decades, to at least the 1950s, when young German theater troupes would reenact complicated court cases word for word onstage. Even earlier, in the United States, the WPA paid for a form of this performance with its “Living Newspapers,” in…

more »
The Magnificent Seven
Another day, another remake

The big difference between the new version of The Magnificent Seven and the revered 1960 feature is the ethnic background of the main characters. The titular seven in director Antoine Fuqua’s take are a diverse bunch, while the ruthless villain of the piece is no longer a Mexican bandito…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Ensembulele

4:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Final After-Hours Market

4:00pm|Depot Market Square

Autumn Soups

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Tame Your Inner Critic

7:00pm|Village Books

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Looking for Betty MacDonald

7:30pm|Village Books

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Northwood Steak and Crab Mount Baker Theatre
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Autumn Celebration Dinner

5:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Everybody’s Store Northwood Steak and Crab
Saturday
Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Run Like a Girl

8:00am|Fairhaven Park

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Cabbage Class

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Healthcare Film

9:30am|Bellingham Public Library

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Fermentation Fun

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Film is Truth Anniversary Party

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Birding Walk

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Porpathon

10:00am|Salish Sea

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Buddy Walk

11:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photos Opening

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Banned Books Week Read-In

12:30pm|Village Books

Intro to NaNoWriMo

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Artist Lecture

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Matched Makers Opening

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Timber Rose

2:00pm|North Fork Library

Traditional Jazz

2:00pm|VFW Hall

Blessing of the Animals

3:30pm|Cornwall Park

Poetry Palavers

4:00pm|Village Books

Edison Opening

5:00pm|Smith & Vallee Gallery

Matzke Art Auction

5:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Celebrating Jack Prelutsky

5:30pm|Western Library

Fred Morrison

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

The Aimees

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

USA Dance

7:00pm|Presence Studio

George Winston

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Folk Dance Party

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

see our complete calendar »

Mount Baker Theatre Swinomish 2016 Northwood Steak and Crab Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Everybody’s Store Zoots Side Bar Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market CW BOB 2016 Andrew Subin Artifacts Wine Bar