Any Day Now (2012) Review


The love of parents is highlighted in ‘Any Day Now’.

Any Day Now is a family drama that asks audiences to decide if a child benefits from the love of a stable home environment. In this heart-wrenching account of one boy’s life, the difficulties and challenges of adoption are compounded by a non-traditional couple and their dream of caring for the child they are compelled to love.

Isaac Leyva portrays fifteen-year-old Marco. He is impressionable and living in a slum with his drug-addicted, prostitute mother. These harsh realities are stressful and keep him from sleeping at night. Marco has grown accustomed to taking long walks alone when his mother is otherwise occupied. What gives the character of Marco such strength and impact is his ability to persevere despite the challenge of being born with Down’s syndrome.

Living next door to Marco and his mother is Rudy, beautifully executed by Alan Cumming. Rudy is a hard-edged, struggling performer. After a long line of disappointment and fighting his way through life and love, Rudy takes compassion on Marco after his mother is arrested. The two make an unlikely pair as they freestyle their way through the process of legal guardianship. All the while, Paul Fleiger is there in their corner serving as a ray of hope. Garrett Dillahunt is Paul, Rudy’s lover and the unseemly attorney who puts everything on the line to adopt the child they have both grown to love.

Audiences may be surprised to learn that Any Day Now is based on a true story that took over twenty years to bring to production. Rudy is a man who lived in a Brooklyn apartment in the 1970s, much like the character in the film. His life set the stage for writer George Arthur Bloom to create the original screenplay of a man on the outside of accepted society who takes a child with special needs into his care. When director Travis Fine was searching for a script, he was presented this one by his high school chum and the film’s Music Supervisor, P.J. Bloom (also son of George Arthur Bloom). In the original screenplay, Bloom took license with actual events and incorporated the adoption. However, it was Fine who expanded the trial and re-wrote the character of Paul.

The film is set in the late 1970s. Although the events that would become the film took place in New York, multi-talented Writer/Director/ Producer Travis Fine took a slightly more economical route in bringing the story to life by filming in and around Los Angeles. By his own account, filming in New York would have been historically accurate but geographically challenging. Many scenes were shot at a youth correction center in Whittier, California in an attempt to maximize locations and work within a modest budget.

Audiences can expect to hear and enjoy several groovy, disco classics of the era. Additionally, there are songs in the film that echo and shadow this bittersweet tale of a non-conventional family. The soundtrack includes a cover of Bob Dylan’s song, “I Shall Be Released” performed by Alan Cumming who sings several songs throughout the film. The lasting impression of the love shared between Rudy and Paul is captured in this rendition. It brings the story and the title to a full and complete circle.

Given the wide territory covered, Any Day Now is achingly universal. Travis Fine chose to bring this story to the screen because, as a divorced parent, he found himself relating to the torture of being unable to participate in the life of a child for whom he cared greatly: his daughter. Audiences will agree, whether a parent, guardian or doting babysitter, when capable of positively influencing the life of a child there is great difficulty in accepting the inability to do so. In this case, the legal system that made it possible for Rudy and Paul to be guardians is the same legal system that prohibits them from adoption.

Any Day Now will encourage audiences to consider the current guidelines of adoption. Even now, thirty-five years after the fictionalized court case, there remain many hurdles in the path of same-sex couples and their right to adopt. In America, only sixteen states allow for such events to take place. This film takes a very controversial scenario and deconstructs the route of the outcome. The film does not attempt to answer the question of a couple’s right to be together; instead it focuses solely on the minor and two very differing arguments as to the best environment for his well-being.