There's a subtle blast of righteous anger in this pointed drama, which finds present-day relevance in a true story that's more than 30 years old. The focus is on normal people who are caught up in an unjust system that leans toward ignorance and bigotry even if child's life is in danger. And watching them muster the strength to fight back is utterly riveting, because they're flawed and daunted exactly like we would be.
It takes place in 1979 Los Angeles, where Rudy (Cumming) works as a nightclub drag artist. When his hard-partying neighbour (Allman) abandons her Downs Syndrome son Marco (Leyva), Rudy steps up to take care of him. But he needs to find a longer-term solution, so he turns to Paul (Dillahunt), a divorced lawyer who has barely admitted to himself that he's gay. Rudy and Paul have only tentatively started a relationship, so Paul is reluctant. But Marco needs a guardian, so he helps Rudy get foster custody and moves them into his own home to help improve their legal status. But as they become a family, it becomes increasingly difficult for Paul to remain closeted, and when his sexuality emerges the court takes Marco away.
Even when the film shifts into a courtroom drama, it balances the drama with real-life humour and authentic emotional intensity. Watching these two compassionate men face systematic homophobia is pretty shocking, but filmmaker Fine never lets this become an issue movie: it's an involving story about people standing up for what's right. And by anchoring everything in the relationships, the film remains warm, relaxed and likeably awkward. This is mainly because Cumming and Dillahunt make such an unusual couple as the unapologetic queen and the strong-but-silent repressed guy.
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