Though it was rejected for over 30 film festivals gay family drama In the Family is getting rave reviews from the New York Times, Roger Ebert and others and opens this Friday at Cinema 21.
The film follows biracial gay dad in the town of Martin, Tennessee. Their son, Chip Hines, a precocious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and gets closer to his son.
Patrick Wang play the Asian-American Joey who comes across as a natural as a southerner with an easy drawl and casual demeanor that instantly adds a deep connection to the character. The way he approaches the custody battle, attempting to calmly reason with his sister in law and the lawyers while not understanding his lack of rights creates a simultaneous feeling us frustration and tenderness. A divisive issue is made poignant and real due to Wang’s perfect combination of his triple roles as writer, director and actor.
The cinematography, too, adds thoughtfulness with it’s slow pans and muted natural tones. It’s a drama in every sense of the word that will certainly tug at your heartstrings, though at 169 minutes it could have done with a bit of editing. But it’s worth sitting through for the powerfully emotional yet understand story that it tells. Wang is an emerging director to watch out for.
Watch the trailer below:
About Alley Hector
Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.