Any Day Now (Released in the UK 6/9/13, and on limited release in the USA 12/14/12)
One night bar cabaret drag act Rudy Donatello (Cumming) sees his drug-abusing next door neighbour leave her 14-year old son Marco (Leyva) at home; Marco has Down’s Syndrome so Rudy takes him in and takes him to see one of his patrons at the club – Paul Fliger (Dillahunt) – who works at the District Attorney’s office.
When Marco’s mother (Jamie Ann Allman; TV’s The Killing) is arrested by the vice squad for drug possession, he and Paul attempt to take temporary custody pretending to be cousins due to the un-PC ways of 1970s America. When his boss finds out that they are a couple, Fliger gets fired, and they must battle the biased legal system with the help of a black lawyer Lonnie Washington (Don Franklin; TV’s SeaQuest DSV) to try and get custody back from the foster care which Marco has been placed in.
Rudy Donatello – Alan Cumming OBE (The Smurfs 2; Goldeneye; TV’s The Good Wife)
Marco Deison – Isaac Leyva (only credit)
Lambert – Gregg Henry (TV’s Scandal; Slither; Payback)
Written and directed by Travis Fine (The Others)
Written by George Arthur Bloom (My Little Pony)
Read through my reviews and you’ll realise that I don’t tend to watch many films that can exactly be described as emotionally charged. This was always going to be a difficult one, I knew it was a legal drama concerning what could come under the umbrella of human rights; obviously the first thing that comes to mind was Philadelphia. When it started I would have been happy if it was even half as good as Philadelphia; perhaps the best example of a ”courtroom drama” ever made. Fortunately it vastly exceeded that basic criteria, Fine and Bloom are about the most unlikely pairing that I’ve seen in a long time, a cartoon writer and a director best known for being the cadet bullying colonel in Child’s Play 3.
However this combination came about… it worked! They put together an extremely sensitively handled, tasteful drama filled with issues to do with several aspects of equality and managed to assemble one of the most well balanced casts I’ve seen in an independent film for a long time. Everyone involved puts on a great performance, from the star Scotsman Alan Cumming, to rookie Isaac Leyva who you can’t help but love from his first scene in the hallway. Cumming even sings a lot of the songs himself, and does a wonderful job with Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”.
In this sort of film you really need a character that you can utterly despise and Gregg Henry manages this with aplomb; his attorney Lambert is instantly unlikable and you completely hate him by the end of the film. It must be a difficult role, as you can’t break even the slightest from character in speech or facial expression or you lose that built up anger in your audience. Henry deserves a lot of credit as he not only gives the viewer someone to focus their dislike of the situation upon, but helps to carry Cumming and Dillahunt’s characters to a new level.
The idea of a drag queen singing is going to make you think of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It’s only natural, after all the 1994 comedy is a great film but it is nowhere near as rewarding as Any Day Now. Don’t get hung up on that part though, it’s only a minor plot point to set the scene; Donatello’s occupation does come up in the state attorney’s (Henry) case, but that was built around showing how backward the world was in the 1970s. Combining racial, disability and sexual orientation bigotries into one film was a very bold move and it pays off, especially in the outcome of the court case and where we leave the story. A magnificent piece of work which is definitely worth looking out for, it’s currently on release in the major cities around the UK so take a gamble on it.
You won’t be disappointed if you want a bit of a “weepy”.
8.5/10 – If it were a 2013 film it would make my top 5 of the year so far, but sadly it falls in the 2012 pile and that list I already published! Cumming and Dillahunt made a very believable couple in a “coming out” relationship, you can see how the married IRL Dillahunt starts off very uncomfortable but grows into the role as the film progresses… I’m sure you don’t have anything to worry about Michelle…
Sadly when this opened in the States it only went out in 14 cinemas, and on the same day as The Hobbit. It got buried, and believed me, it’s a much better film!