Film Review: Alan Cumming Shines in Heartbreaking ‘Any Day Now’

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CHICAGO – Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” is an old-fashioned social problem film painted in the broadest of strokes. Fairly early on, the audience is faced with two choices: either resist the film’s assuredly tear-jerking formula or submit to it. Though some critics will always opt for the first choice, regardless of a film’s merits, I’m willing to praise a formula as long as it’s well-executed.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

At its best, Fine’s film appropriately evokes civil rights melodramas of the ’60s, such as Guy Green’s wrenching “A Patch of Blue,” with a dash of Robert Benton’s 1979 masterpiece, “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Fueling the fractured heart of “Any Day Now” is the love that two would-be parents feel for a young boy in desperate need of a family. The fact that the two “parents” are a gay couple unable to marry in America circa 1979 places a seemingly impenetrable wall between them and the child.

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Any Day Now” in our reviews section.

The story is simple enough, and the outcome is more or less inevitable. Yet what ultimately caused me to cave in emotionally (and what most likely inspired moviegoers at the Chicago International Film Festival to give Fine’s film the Audience Choice Award) is its riveting lead performance by Alan Cumming as a man whose impassioned rage is so volatile that it threatens to burst forth at the most inopportune moments. It’s the showcase that Cumming’s entire career has been leading toward, and it offers undeniable proof that he has the magnetism to anchor a picture himself, rather than remain confined to the ensemble. His inherently engaging screen persona enables his character, a vivacious drag performer named Rudy, to convincingly connect with Marco (Isaac Leyva), a young neglected child with Down Syndrome who lives in the apartment across the hall. Once the drug habits of Marco’s wretched mother (Jamie Anne Allman) land her in jail, Rudy sees this as an opportunity to care for the kid himself. This presents an obvious problem for Rudy’s closeted lover, Paul (Garret Dillahunt), whose desire for a job promotion conflicts with his increasing need to be open about his identity. There are echoes of Joe Pitt, the closeted attorney from “Angels in America,” in the character of Paul, while Rudy has all the show-stopping presence of Prior Walter.

‘Any Day Now’ stars Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva, Frances Fisher, Gregg Henry, Jamie Ann Allman, Chris Mulkey, Don Franklin and Kelli Williams. It was written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom and directed by Travis Fine. It was released January 4th at the Music Box Theatre. It is rated R.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Any Day Now” review.

Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming star in Travis Fine’s Any Day Now.
Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming star in Travis Fine’s Any Day Now.
Photo credit: Music Box Films

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