Sunday, January 6, 2013

Any Day Now (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Any Day Now

 "Any Day Now" a favorite from the recent Key West Film Festival, returns to Key West. Directed by Travis Fine (The Space Between) and produced by notable Key Wester Anne O' Shea (who appears as Mrs. Lowell) "Any Day Now" is based on a 1970s child adoption case involving a gay couple.

Alan Cumming stars as Rudi, a drag performer that becomes enthralled by Paul, a closeted and slightly geekish DA played by Garret Dillahunt. Across from his shoebox apartment, Rudi sees Marco, ( Isaac Leyva) a boy with Down Syndrome huddling in his apartment at midday in dirty clothes under an onslaught of rock. Gradually he learns that Marco is seriously neglected by his druggy and bigoted mother (Jamie Anne Allman).

In a slightly unconvincing act, Rudi takes matters in his own hands immediately and pursues taking custody of Marco, with whom he has a friendly  rapport and barges into Paul's office.

After some theatrical upheaval which does ring true, Paul decides to handle Rudi's efforts and he becomes his lawyer. After being initially shot down at a hearing, Paul asks Rudi to move in with him, thereby strengthening both the case and their  relationship.

"Any Day Now" follows in the tradition of naturalistic films such as "Kramer Vs. Kramer". It has strong character development and although Rudi might seem a cliche to some, Cumming has so much spirit and verve in the role to make his character solid. Rudi is no Plastic Drama Queen, but rather a dimensional person.

The real spark of the film though is Isaac Leyva as Marco, who plays his character with a refreshing lack of sentiment and melodrama  despite its understandably sad story. Cumming and Leyva illustrate a visceral and utterly believable friendship and love from a step-parent to a son and vice versa. Most enjoyable of all is seeing Marco as a real kid, full of comedy and fire in a story that eschews the route of so many sappy TV movies, at least as far as Marco and Rudi go. The two actors share a dynamic pull that transcends the story's "do the right thing" march. The film also has a rich historical feel of West Hollywood during the 1970's. This gives a touch of lightness and realism to  a series of courtroom scenes.

Strangely, despite its undeniable sadness which is very real "Any Day Now" does not dwell in its tragedies. Instead, like "Kramer Vs. Kramer", the story focuses on the humor, the strong bonds and the grace of its characters, however in peril they become by our societal and legal prejudices.

"Any Day Now" is courageous in its lack of a happy ending, and more poetic for it: the last image we see is of a soft footed Marco, alone to face a passive cement sky.

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