Monday, 29 April 2013

REVIEW - ANY DAY NOW


There's a special place in hell (or at least there would be) for those who can take a true story and wrangle this much crass sentimentality out of it. If you're the sort who cries at movies, Any Day Now is likely to make you blub, but at what happens, not at how it happens. Director Travis Fine knows how to stage a good, slick, emotional montage over some heartstring-pulling music like every other hack with a big enough budget, but the dearth of creative individuality which he possesses ensures that all his touches fail to enhance the innate emotive qualities of this real-life tale. In fact, they seem to attempt to debase these qualities, and bring Any Day Now into line with dozens of other 'movie-of-the-week'-type films you'll surely have seen. The story: two gay men try to conceal their relationship from the authorities in order to obtain custody of Marco, a child with Down's Syndrome whose neglectful mother has wound up in prison. They succeed, temporarily, which may strike one as remarkable, considering that one of the men is played by Alan Cumming, but which is less remarkable when one considers that Any Day Now takes place in the 1970s, when pretty much every man dressed like a gay man. Their relationship is, of course, discovered, by the one person who has apparently gathered up all the suspicion nobody else seems to harbour and uses it as a licence to glower like a bad Bond villain, and Marco is put into foster care. The tenacious couple endeavour to regain custody, but face every obstacle imaginable, as expected. It's a sad story, no doubt, but Fine gives it such a soap-opera sheen that all the sadness is lost, and it becomes hard to feel as the film so relentlessly dictates we should feel. Fine plays wholly by the book, which yields mostly negative results, although the stock characters he has somehow fabricated from reality do lend themselves to strong performances from the cast, and at least someone understood that casting Frances Fisher in your film in any capacity automatically makes it better.