Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In The Family (2011)

Directed by: Patrick Wang

Starring: Sebastian Banes, Patrick Wang, Trevor St. John

The Main Review: In the Family is a 2011 film that highlights the struggles homosexual couples can go through due to the prohibition of gay marriage. When Joey's partner, Cody, dies, Cody's sister takes over as legal guardian of Chip, Joey and Cody's son. Chip is taken away from his father and Joey is slowly cut off from the family he gained through Cody. So, with the help of his friends, Joey sets out to find a solution.
You can smell that deep, touching movie smell from a mile away.

The movie starts with a normal day in Cody, Joey, and Chip's lives. Joey is a contractor, Cody is a math teacher and Chip, their six year old, is adorably precocious. However, all of that is taken away quite suddenly when Cody gets into a car accident. After not even being allowed to visit him in the hospital, Joey is informed that Cody has died.

Joey and Chip are both grieved, but they struggle and manage. However, Joey is informed by Cody's sister, Eileen, that she was named the sole heir to Cody's inheritance in his will (which hadn't been updated since Cody was born). This placed her as Chip's legal guardian. She thanks Joey for being a good parent for all of those years and assures him that Chip will be well taken care of. Joey is outraged and refuses to give up his son. However, that Thanksgiving, when Chip goes to visit his grandmother, he's nowhere to be found when Joey comes to pick him up. A few days later, Joey is given a restraining order.

Joey talks to many lawyers who all tell him he has no case. However, Paul, a retired lawyer whose house Joey is contracting for, offers to help him. Joey says he wants a deposition and he meets up with Eileen, her husband, and their lawyer.

Here's Where It Gets Spoilerific: So, throughout all of this, there are some flashbacks. We learn that Cody was married to Rebecca when Joey became the contractor on their house. Rebecca was pregnant with Chip and she died shortly after he was born. Joey was a constant help to Cody and, about seven months later when the house is finished, Cody makes a move on Joey. And then six years later, here we are.
At the deposition, Joey is question by some jerk lawyer (who asks inappropriate things like, "How did you seduce Cody?" and "Are you a pedophile?"). He then gets to explain his side of everything in such a beautiful way. He says he'll give up the house and any bank accounts he shared with Cody just for an opportunity to get his son back. Eileen and her husband are obviously shaken by what Joey says and walk out of the deposition.

A while later, Eileen's husband shows up on Joey's doorstep as he's packing. He explains how sorry he is for the whole situation. He tells Joey he can stay in the house and that Eileen is just having a hard time figuring out what's best to do. He gets Joey to come outside and yells out to Eileen (whose in the car) to come out and speak to Joey herself. Just as she does, Chip jumps out of the car with her and rushes over to hug his dad. 

Scenes To Watch Out For: When Cody kisses Joey for the first time. That whole scene is brilliant.

The deposition. All of it was very well done.

Despite it's abruptness, when Chip suddenly jumps out of the car and into his daddy's arms - it's the sweetest ending I can think of for this film.

Anything Else: In The Family does not rush itself. Because of this, it's just a bit short of about three hours long. So, I think, before this film can be picked up, it might need to be edited a smidgen. However, the story really was lovely and intriguing. I hope I see it again someday.

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