Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Travis Fine
Stars: Alan Cumming, Garrett Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva, Chris Mulkey, Kelli Williams, Jane Anne
Allman, Frances Fisher, Alan Rachins, Don Franklin, Gregg Henry, Mindy Sterling, Doug
Spearman, Randy Roberts, Michael Nouri
For his Movies At Dusk program on 3WBC 94.1FM, Greg King spoke to director Travis Fine
about the film Any Day Now. To hear the interview, click here.
Based on a true story, Any Day Now is a heartwrenching, poignant and powerfully moving film
about a gay couple who try to adopt an abandoned teenager who has Downs Syndrome, and find
themselves battling homophobia, an uncaring bureaucracy, and an intensigent legal system that
believes it is acting in the best interests of the child.
The film is set in West Hollywood in 1979, but what is most remarkable is how slowly attitudes
have changed since then. There is still suspicion regarding gay couples and gay parents even in
the 21st century.
Any Day Now was written in the early 80s by screenwriter George Arthur Bloom, who had
personal knowledge of some of the people involve in the events depicted. Bloom is a prolific
scriptwriter of television, animated films and live action films like Disney’s The Last Flight Of
Noah’s Ark, etc. Originally actors of the calibre of Jon Voight were attached to the project but for
numerous reasons the film never got off the ground. Bloom’s script languished in a drawer
somewhere until it found its way into the hands of Travis Fine (The Spaces Between, tv series
The Young Riders, etc), an actor turned director, who loved the themes and ideas and fleshed out
the details more. He has retained the 70s setting, which makes the emotional impact of the story
Any Day Now boasts a superb, career best performance from Alan Cumming, familiar to many
through his ongoing role in the popular tv series The Good Wife, etc. Here he plays Rudy, a
flamboyant drag queen performing in a seocnd rate cabaret act and who is struggling to make
ends meet. He lives in a squalid apartment block in West Hollywood, where drug deals are an
everyday occurence. One night his neighbour (Jamie Anne Allman) is arrested on drugs charges
and carted off to jail, leaving behind her teenaged son Marco (newcomer Isaac Leyva). Marco is
afflicted with Downs Syndrome and left home alone he becomes confused and terrified. Rudy
takes him into his place to tend to him while he can work out the best solution.
He approaches Paul (Garrett Dillahunt, from Looper, 12 Years A Slave, etc), a casual
acquaintance and closeted lawyer with the DAs office to seek advice. Paul convinces Marco’s
mother to sign over temporary custody to Rudy. Paul and Rudy move in to Paul’s more spacious
and comfortable house to provide Marco with a more secure and loving environment and begin to
raise him. They even find him a good school that caters to children with special needs, and under
the sympathetic tutelage of Miss Flemming (Kelli Williams) Marco begins to blossom.
But when the nature of the relationship between Rudy and Paul is accidentally revealed they find
themselves with a fight on their hands to retain custody of Marco. Paul’s homophobic and
vindictive boss DA Williams (Chris Mulkey, from First Blood, Captain Phillips, etc) makes it his
personal mission to remove Marco from their care. The odds are stacked against them, and there
are lots of dramatic fireworks and emotional outbursts during the courtroom scenes.
FIne has cast his film with care. Cumming is superb and perfectly cast as the flamboyant, volatile
and outspoken Rudy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Dillahunt, who normally plays tough
guys and villains, is cast against type here, and his performance as the level headed and
articulate lawyer who finds himself up against institutionalised homophobia and blatant prejudice
combines compassion, sympathy and a steely determination. And Leyva is a real find, bringing
vulnerability and a natural quality to his performance.
Even the small roles are cast with an eye for authenticity, with Frances Fisher particualrly good
and memorable as a hard nosed judge whose prejudices are obvious.
Fine has a good idea for period details as well, and the film has the look and feel of many of those
gritty dramas from the 70s thanks to Rachel Morrison’s evocative cinematography. And the songs
that Rudy chooses for his cabaret act are very revealing and enhance the film’s themes of
tolerance, love and family. The film explores issues of homophobia and what it takes to be a good
parent in intelligent and sympathetic fashion, which makes its downbeat ending all the more
moving and hard hitting.
Like Kramer Vs Kramer, which ironically enough was one of the big emotional blockbusters of
1979, Any Day Now is an unashamed tear jerker, and a crowd pleasing film that unfortunately is
not playing to the broader audience it deserves.