To many people Alan Cumming is the guy who pops up in supporting roles in the likes of The Good Wife, Goldeneye and X-Men 2. Some have never quite got past him as an insanely camp air steward in the Scottish sitcom The High Life. However he’s far more than that, as the fact he has both a Tony and an Olivier award attests. Here he gets to take centre stage opposite Raising Hope’s Garret Dillahunt in a moving and extremely well made movie.
It’s the 1970s and Cumming is Rudy Donatello, an out and proud gay man who performs in a drag act. His life takes an unexpected turn when he discovers that the kid living next door, Marco (Isaac Levya), has been abandoned by his junkie mother.
Unsure what to do with this young man who’s affected by Down’s Syndrome, Rudy decides to take him to see a recent one night stand, Paul (Dillahunt), who works in the DA’s office. Initially the closeted Paul is more concerned with what others will think about this man he’s slept with storming into the office than the welfare of Marco. However, as Rudy and Paul work out their differences and it becomes increasingly clear that Marco would be far better in their care than falling through the cracks of the system, they start to fight for the right to become his legal guardians.
Any Day Now is a very good film, helped immensely by a finely judged script, which manages to cover a lot of ideas and issues without ever going too far or dipping into OTT melodrama. Quite often with this sort of movie that has a recognisable cast and a story that could have mainstream traction, the LGBT characters get de-gayed, however Any Day Now very smartly ensures that Rudy and Paul are real gay men who get up to gay stuff and that this shouldn’t preclude them from looking after a youth
Indeed, I couldn’t help but think that many filmmakers would have told the story from the perspective of Paul, the ‘straight-acting’ character with a mainstream job, while Rudy would be the camp but harmless sidekick. However here the focus is on Rudy, who refuses to compromise on his sexuality, has a very sharp tongue and isn’t afraid to go on the attack (even when it’s not the best idea). Paul meanwhile is initially painted as a coward for hiding in the closet, even though the film does give plenty of reasons why someone in the 70s would want to pass as straight. Ultimately the movie is stronger for doing things this way, as it ensures that things feel genuine and that Marco is being offered a real family, rather than a white-picket-fence attempt to make an unsubtle point that doesn’t feel genuine.
Likewise, the film smartly avoids making a massive deal out of Marco’s Down’s Syndrome, simply treating it as something that exists and needs certain considerations, but which certainly isn’t something that needs to be mined for sentimentality or made a giant fuss over.
Any Day Now is engrossing, very entertaining and often quite funny. However as it’s based on a true story it may end up heading for a place you didn’t expect. Again Any Day Now avoids going too much towards melodrama here, instead delivering heartfelt sentiment and a smart way of pointing fingers at a system and society that was/is so desperate not to allow gay people to look after youngsters that the actual kids’ interests and desires are completely ignored – indeed here the authorities actively work against Marco’s best interests just to make an ideological point.
It is certainly Cumming’s movie and he’s excellent as Rudy. The actor holds the whole thing together with power and subtlety and also gets to show off his singing skills at various points. He really ought to get more lead roles as he is an extremely good actor.
Overall Verdict: A moving and finely judged film that has a lot to say and does so with plenty of power. And it’s all the more notable for doing it while never de-gaying its characters or inadvertently suggesting (as several as other gay themed films have) that it’s necessary to be almost straight to be allowed near children.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac