Gay Films: ‘Any Other Day’ Illuminates Struggles of Gay Couples to Adopt in the 70’s
The LGBT community has made great strides towards equality in recent years. From the ballot box victories last November, the recognition of same-sex marriage by the New York state legislature in 2011, and even the overturning of a ban on gay adoptions here in Florida in 2010, change is coming swiftly.
But, it wasn’t that long ago that the mere suspicion of being gay or lesbian could justify being fired or evicted — even in progressive bastions of liberal thought like Los Angeles or New York. Sadly, in many states this is still the law.
The long fight for equal rights is the subject of writer/producer/director Travis Fine’s film, Any Day Now, the story of a gay couple living in West Hollywood, circa 1979, who petition the courts to adopt an abused Down syndrome child, Marco (Isaac Leyva).
The couple, drag performer Rudy (Alan Cumming) and closeted assistant district attorney Paul (Garret Dillahunt), barely consummated their new relationship when they take in the boy, who was abandoned by his drug-addicted mother after she was arrested and sentenced for prostitution.
Together, they are forced to tackle a legal system that seems stacked against them, despite the fact the couple are the only ones who demonstrate any true concern for the child. They persuade the mother to grant temporary custody during her incarceration, but when Paul’s boss puts two and two together, he fires the young D.A. and helps the state remove Marco to an institution.
The couple enlists a tough, jive-talking African-American attorney (Don Franklin) to handle their appeal leading to the most truthful exchange in the film after their defeat:
“There is no justice, is there?” sighs Paul, eliciting this response from his attorney, “You went to law school… I’m surprised that’s not the first thing they taught you. But that don’t mean we stop fighting for what’s right.”
Any Day Now follows every gimmick in the Lifetime movie playbook — it’s a touching emotional rollercoaster that will have audiences smiling then crying — and earning the film audience awards at 10 regional film festivals. The film was one of the audience favorites of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival last November.
Despite a shoestring budget, Fine constructs a film that is incredibly authentic on the screen. He keeps his shots tight and gritty and attention to almost every detail is apparent from costumes to set decorating.
Dillahunt (Raising Hope) and Leyva are both charming in their respective roles, but it’s Cumming’s abrasive, passionate Rudy who drives the movie, delivering not only a strong acting performance but also brassy vocals, especially a jazzy, balladic Come to Me. Unfortunately, he’s never convincing as a professional drag performer and, while I hate to quibble, any working “girl” would have to agree. (Even in 1979, the queens shaved their armpits and forearms. I’m not even going to comment on the makeup.)
It’s important to note, there are several members of the production team with South Florida connections: Co-writer George Arthur Bloom resides in Palm Beach County and executive producers Wayne LaRue Smith and Dan Skahen live in Key West. Smith and Skahen challenged Florida’s ban on gay adoption in the courts, but have fostered many youth and are now the parents of two adopted teens. Co-producer Steven Kozlowski, a Miami attorney who handles LGBT issues, has also challenged Florida’s ban.
Check local listings for showtimes. For more information, go to AnyDayNowMovie.com.
Any Day Now
Opening Jan. 25
Find it at:
Regal South Beach 18, Miami Beach; The Classic Gateway Theatre, Fort Lauderdale; Regal Delray Beach 18, Delray Beach; Lake Worth Playhouse, Lake Worth; M’os Art, Lake Park.