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"Any Day Now" Has RIGHT—and Alan Cumming—on Its Side


[caption id="attachment_3833" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Paul (Garret Dillahunt), Marco (Isaac Leyva), and Rudy (Alan Cumming) in "Any Day Now." Courtesy of Music Box Films.[/caption] I was privileged to see a special screening of Any Day Now, opening in theaters today, last night in Manhattan. The panel discussion that followed and the preview were held at the LGBT Community Center on W. 13th St. The film, which follows the quest of a couple (who happen to be men) to adopt a young boy with Down syndrome, addresses relevant, important themes—but make no mistake: This movie is a story, at its heart, about love and, most essentially, family. Any Day Now has garnered a string of festival awards—12, in fact, including 8 audience awards for best feature (one locally at the Tribeca Film Festival) and three (incredibly well-deserved, in my opinion) for best actor for Alan Cumming's powerful performance.  

A Transcendent Story

The Spark Notes set-up: When a boy with Down syndrome is taken into the system after his drug-addicted mother is incarcerated, neighbor Rudy (Cumming) endeavors to take him in and make sure he doesn't fall through the cracks. What follows is a grand love story—an evolving love between two men, and a blooming and all-enveloping love among the new family they form with the boy, named Marco (Isaac Leyva). As a mother, I found myself nodding with recognition during so many scenes. The pride, so clearly brimming from Rudy's every pore while watching Marco perform in a school concert—universal. The moment of indulgence when Paul (played brilliantly by Garret Dillahunt) gives chocolate donuts to Marco in spite of his partner's mild protest that donuts aren't a healthy meal option—yup, been there, too. And my favorite: When Marco's teacher tells the temporary parents that it would be best if they just left quickly on Marco's first day of school, Rudy sheepishly replies: "It might be best for him, but what about me?" Oh, that's a gut-wrenching milestone every parent goes through. Because the foundation of family—built upon support, love, respect, and lots of joy—is so clearly in place for this untraditional family, the drama that ensues around the adoption process is even more compelling. Without going into too much detail, and with no intention of spoiling the ending, I'll say this: There are times when the injustice of this world saddens me beyond belief, and the realities of discrimination portrayed in Any Day Now are one of these times. But beyond sadness, there is anger. As Cumming said post-screening, "I'm angry as hell." Me, too. Why is it that ignorance persists? Why is it that even though this couple so clearly had "right on their side," as Marco implores, that the right thing does not happen? Why is it that the interests of children are not always, always, the first and primary things considered by those who have the power to decide these children's fate? "I don't see why he should be punished anymore for stuff that ain't his fault," Rudy says of Marco in the film. No, neither do I.  
 

Any Day Now...Still Waiting

[caption id="attachment_3845" align="alignleft" width="211"] Steve Majors moderated the panel discussion after the film. (© Robert M. Ford Photography)[/caption] "Doing this film made me more angry," Cumming admitted last night. "I'm tired of being grateful just to have some rights." "The story of Any Day Now may take place in the past, but the discrimination against same-sex families it depicts is unfortunately still all too real in some parts of our country," said Hernon Graddick, president of GLAAD, the nation's LGBT anti-defamation organization. Attorney Paul argues of the unfair realities the couple faces: "That is not discrimination, it's reality." Let's change the reality. According to Steve Majors, communications director of the Family Equality Council and himself a gay father of two girls, there are currently 400,000 kids in the foster care system, 120,000 of whom can be adopted at any given time—and of those, 25,000 "age out and never find their 'forever family.' " While the federal government considers legislation that can have major impact on these issues (see Every Child Deserves a Family Act), movies such as Any Day Now—and every one of us—"can change hearts and minds," Majors suggests.  

Beyond Issues, A Beautiful Movie

Sure, you'll have a lot to think about, and some profound feelings to contend with when you walk out of the theater. The main reason, though, I recommend you see Any Day Now is because it's a damn beautiful story with incredible performances. It's about coming home, finding a home, and fighting the good fight. It's about acceptance and outsiders, fulfilling dreams and making a family. It's about love.   [caption id="attachment_3846" align="alignleft" width="390"] Alan Cumming after the screening and panel discussion at The LGBT Community Center in Manhattan (© Robert M. Ford Photography)[/caption]


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Dawn M. Roode

Author:

Dawn M. Roode was formerly editorial director of NYMetroParents, where she launched the award-winning semi-annual magazine Special Parent. She was managing editor at Parenting, BabyTalk, Child, Harper's Bazaar, and Latina magazines. She is a strategic content specialist and currently writes and edits parenting, health, travel, and special needs features for various media outlets. Roode is mom to one son and recently relocated from Brooklyn to the suburbs of New York City. Follow her on Twitter @DawnRoode.

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