Film

Any Day Now: When Love Doesn't Conquer All

Any Day Now: When Love Doesn't Conquer All
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In late 1970s Los Angeles, an out-and-proud drag queen (Alan Cumming) finds himself embroiled with two new guys: Paul (Garret Dillahunt), a straitlaced lawyer taking his first baby steps out of the closet, and Marco (Isaac Leyva), a young neighbor boy with Down syndrome who's left alone after his mom is imprisoned. With a speed that would be silly if the film weren't based on a true story, Rudy, Paul, and Marco shack up in Paul's lawyerly digs, coalescing into a funky but high-functioning family, with the newly stable home life allowing young Marco to flourish in previously unimaginable ways. Still, it's 1979, and when whispers about this unconventional living arrangement reach the wrong ears, Marco is removed from the home while Paul and Rudy fight an uphill legal battle for the return of the unwanted kid they've come to consider a son.

Tasked with blending a love story, a legal procedural, and a good old-fashioned "Not without my daughter!" melodrama, Any Day Now succeeds beautifully, thanks primarily to its talent- and charm-packed cast. Cumming announces himself with a cartoonish Queens accent and stop-staring-at-me hairpiece, but promptly fights his way to a messy humanity. (Had this movie been made 40 years ago, Cumming's drag queen might've been turned into a showgirl and played by Gena Rowlands.) Next to the flamboyant Cumming, Dillahunt first comes off as a handsome beige statue, but as the film progresses, he elegantly communicates many of the film's deepest emotional points. (His deer-in-the-headlights stare in response to flagrant bigotry drags us right back to when gays weren't just a minority, but a despised minority.) And Leyva does a perfectly wonderful job as Marco, lighting up the screen with a character that's half puppy/half Buddha.

The facts of the film's ending will slay you (bring Kleenex), despite a finale built around Cumming's singing, which inspires plot- forwarding praise and opportunity throughout the film despite being adamantly so-so. It's a weird bit of vanity in a film that's all about messy imperfections. recommended

 

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