When his partner Cody dies in a car accident, Joey learns that their son, Chip, has been willed to Cody's sister. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are.
In the town of Martin, Tennessee, 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 becomes closer to his son. Written by
Joey's lack of medical or legal recourse after his romantic partner Cody's death is based in fact. Many real-life gay couples in the US have found themselves in similarly difficult circumstances in hospitals after one of them had a serious injury or developed a grave illness. One instance that garnered a great deal of media coverage, outrage, and legal action was the case of domestic partners Lisa Pond and Janice Langbehn. In 2007, Langbehn and Pond, who had been together almost two decades, traveled with three of their four children from their home in Washington State to Florida, where Pond had an aneurysm. Although the couple had drawn up legal documents to try to make official their relationship in lieu of legally recognized marriage (including health care proxies and a durable power of attorney), the hospital denied Langbehn any right to make health care decisions for Pond or even to see her (a hospital social worker told Langbehn, "I need you to know this is an anti-gay city and a anti-gay state, and you are not going to get to see her or know her condition.") Langbehn and their children were not allowed to see Pond before she died. Langbehn's subsequent suit against the hospital was unsuccessful, but the case did lead to an April 2010 directive from President Obama to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to prohibit visitation discrimination in all hospitals receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding. President Obama awarded Langbehn a 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal for "transform[ing] her own profound loss into a resounding call for compassion and equality." See more »
The stuff Academy Award winning films are made of...
Many critics could argue, perhaps convincingly, that "In the Family" could be edited from its almost 3 hours to 2 hours, however, the pacing of the film doesn't suffer from its length. And by taking time to develop the almost mundane everyday life of a gay couple raising a young son, the film is actually a bold political statement that speaks directly to every person who thinks being gay is somehow a non-stop sex fest. Because of that, the film makes a very strong point even before the issues at the heart of the movie become front and center. It's a family friendly film where sexual orientation is almost an afterthought of the movie and that is what sets the tone and makes it groundbreaking. That is a long winded way of saying that anyone who thinks the film should fit into a typical 2 hour movie formula, is missing the depth of the story and the emotional impact the pacing creates.
Many Asian-American actors would say they hate doing accents because they are connected with stereotypical roles, but Patrick Wang's southern accent probably wasn't what Asian-American actors had in mind and in this case it is a testament to Patrick's incredible acting abilities. I am one who thinks directors should direct and not also take on the demand of acting in their own films because both can suffer, but Patrick Wang's acting and directing are both amazing. He has embraced this film heart and soul and it's evident in its emotional complexity and perhaps this is a case where it could not have been as successful without Patrick in both roles.
In the film the downward spiral starts with the confrontation between Joey (Patrick Wang) and Chad's sister over the will and is a riveting scene that doesn't leave the viewer rooting for anyone, but actually feeling the pain and the point each is making about the circumstances. But for Joey it is the most devastating because everything in his life is gone overnight; his partner, his child, and his home. The loneliness and destruction of his life is powerfully and beautifully created by Patrick's acting and directing making this a heart wrenching film that shouldn't be missed. And the film's conclusion? Emotionally brilliant.
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