A non-conformist, touching love story that makes up for all its minor flaws with warmth and sincerity – ANYTHING is a little gem that is definitely worth a look. We reveal why in our review.
The Plot Summary
Early (John Carroll Lynch), a man in his mid-fifties, loses his footing after the accidental death of his wife. In desperation he tries to take his own life. His sister Laurette (Maura Tierney) is worried about him and lets him live with her for a while, but he wants to be his own boss again and looks for an apartment in Hollywood. This plan is rejected by his sister. In the somewhat run-down house where he lives, he meets the transsexual Freda (Matt Bomer). She works as a sex worker. And when she comes home bruised one evening, Early takes care of her. They both get closer and closer and an unusual love story begins…
Explanation of the Ending
Director and screenwriter Timothy McNeil worked primarily as an actor before “Anything” and directed the closed-door drama “Emily” in 2011. Nevertheless, he was able to win over a handful of well-known Hollywood stars for “Anything”. Above all, John Carroll Lynch (“The Founder”), who falls in love with his transsexual neighbor (Matt Bomer) as an unexpected widower in the melancholic love story. However, the story only became a film because Mark Ruffalo, of all people, who is currently enjoying endless success in “Avengers: Endgame,” gave up his idea for it. In “Anything” he only took on a producer role and left the field to McNeil. It would have been exciting to see how a Mark Ruffalo would have handled this material; After all, the Wisconsin-born actor is equally at home in Hollywood and arthouse cinema and therefore had enough time to learn all kinds of skills for his second directorial work after “Sympathy for Delicious” from 2010. Timothy McNeil remains pleasantly reduced for his version of “Anything” and thus plays into the hands of the story, which is ultimately just a love story. The influence from outside makes them special.
Freda (Matt Bomer) and Early (John Carroll Lynch) get closer…
From the very beginning, John Caroll Lynch establishes his Early Landry as a grumpy loner who is literally tired of life, but he always allows the hidden amiability of his character to shine through. Life has dealt him a bad hand. And when he is ultimately so desperate that he tries to commit suicide simply because he no longer wants to live without his beloved wife, then the portrayal, staging and the circumstances make it seem not like a despicable act of desperation, but like the only logical step in this lonely Early’s life. The family environment also confirms this impression: paternalism, misunderstandings and simmering underlying conflicts – above all with his sister Laurette (Maura Tierney) – do not make life a happy affair for Early even after his suicide, even if you were the last one in “Beautiful Boy” actress always believes that her character actually only wants the best for her brother. Despite this dysfunctional family structure, into which Early’s brother-in-law and nephew are drawn into at some point (one is more impressed by it, the other less so), Timothy McNeil always works out the positive and even slightly humorous sides of such a situation. When Early expresses to Laurette that she wants to move to Hollywood because it is “just far enough away from her,” but that this is to be understood in an absolutely positive way, then the knowledge of their relationship with each other also resonates with the fact that they are always each other also respected and respected.
But even more than a story about an estranged sibling, “Anything” is a love story. And despite its obvious unconventionality, Timothy McNeil presents it with so much ease and sincerity that the collision with everything that speaks against it is all the more serious. When Early and the transsexual Freda get to know each other one evening in his apartment, this first meeting is characterized by Freda’s eccentric attitude and cushioned by Early’s dry, reserved ponderousness. Nevertheless, this first contact is no different than it would be with a heterosexual couple. You discover later that there is a certain amount of calculation involved, when Early also wants to introduce his family to his newfound happiness. Where the tender love between him and Freda in the remote apartment building somewhere in the back of Hollywood (and therefore away from the rich and famous) is part of a completely normal picture, Early’s sister reacts downright outraged. This break between the beautiful open-mindedness and the ugly stubbornness is where “Anything” draws all of its narrative power.
Early’s new relationship becomes a topic at dinner…
Speaking of beautiful: The fact that “Anything” still reaches the big screen two years after its completion is anything but a given, at least given the production circumstances. The romantic drama doesn’t look like a classic movie and even for an extremely low-budget independent production like “Anything” is, some of the shots seem only poorly thought out. The hard editing and the sometimes shaky and blurry camera give you a feeling of freedom and independence, of improvisation and the absence of rules. But just like Freda through the streets, we as viewers also stagger aimlessly through the film from time to time and seem to be drifting aimlessly. This makes the whole scenario seem all the more authentic; Even the subplots about all the possible neighbors in Early’s house, which are sometimes only touched on, seem to set exactly the right accents in their limited consideration so that the feeling for a very specific social class emerges in “Anything”. Nevertheless, the dramaturgy sometimes seems bumpy; the writer and director more haphazard than ambitious; the film is indecisive instead of carefully thought out. However, nothing changes in terms of compassion for the characters, the hope for a happy ending and the joy of shared happiness. Early and Freda become one of the most touching lovers of the cinema year – and get a final second that could hardly be better.
Conclusion: In his directorial debut “Anything”, Timothy McNeil looks at the part of Hollywood that exists parallel to the world of the rich and famous and tells an unconventional love story in this environment, the truth of which can easily compensate for the bumpy dramaturgy.
“Anything” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from May 9th.