Even in 2012, it’s not easy for a gay couple to adopt a child—even a child that no one else wants. But in 1979, the prospect seemed almost impossible. Never mind the social disapproval; there were few legal mechanisms in place for two homosexuals to become guardians, let alone adopted parents. Director Travis Fine’s Any Day Now (co-written with George Arthur Bloom) stars Alan Cumming as a West Hollywood drag performer who lives in a shabby apartment, next door to a junkie prostitute who has a teenage son with Down syndrome. When his neighbor gets arrested, Cumming tries to help her boy by calling on the only respectable guy he knows: Garret Dillahunt, a lawyer in the district attorney’s office with whom Cumming recently had a fling. Cumming identifies with the kid as a fellow undesirable, and has a romantic attachment to the notion of being his protector. But Dillahunt is deeply closeted, and though he’s smitten with Cumming, he worries that sticking his neck out for his lover will damage his career.
Cumming and Dillahunt are so terrific—as is Isaac Leyva as their ward—that they pull Any Day Now up from its more maudlin and melodramatic elements. The movie is about prejudices both external and self-imposed, and it moves inevitably to the moment when Dillahunt is exposed, and has to fight openly in court for his and Cumming’s right to be Leyva’s dads. What’s really on trial is the homophobia of three decades ago, which is compelling as a piece of social history, but less so as drama, since it’s so obvious what everyone’s role is going to be. The wild cards are the two leads, who each put their own spins on the character of a flaming queen and a straight-laced closet case. Cumming is feisty and combative—not the stereotypical pansy—while Dillahunt is casually affectionate, not overly prim. In other words, they’re playing real people, in a real situation, frustrated by how what feels so natural to them can look so ludicrous to everybody else. Heavy-handedness aside, Any Day Now’s stars get across what’s at stake in a social issue that’s getting closer every day to being settled, but remains damnably controversial.