“In the Family” is a statement alone that has its own baggage whether it means that matters are taken care of in-house or something that runs in the bloodline. Patrick Wang (writer, director, and actor) knows both this and writes the most clever and heartwarming (heartbreaking, too) stories in the run of movies between 2011-2012.
Patrick Wang creates this separate, yet intimate world of the American South. It feels almost fantastical to outsiders, including myself, but in conversations with Southerners this is the South they remember. This fantastical element revolves around a multicultural gay couple with kid in tow. These two men, Cody (Trevor St. John) and Joey (Patrick Wang), are raising a kid, Chip (Sebastian Banes), while working their almost mundane lives. Cody plays a middle school math teacher, and Joey’s a contractor in charge of renovating houses.
Once we encounter a tragedy to Cody, there’s a feeling and little bit of predictability how the situation ends up. Then the question arises, how does this play out in Joey’s favor? Will it? This is the American South even Joey’s attorney acknowledges that the courts around the way won’t take up a case like this. There isn’t much a sense nor case for change.
What’s interesting about “In the Family” is how it plays out like a theatrical performance. Its a ‘tell’ from Patrick Wang’s background in stage and theatre, but there’s so much richness told in this three hour spectacle of Southern slow play. Even when there’s a sense of urgency, Wang’s performance sells this Southern lifestyle so well that, g’dammit, love might conquer all.
Its such a great essay on family dynamics & how to advocate social justice by way of love.
This film is like drinking tea on a Sunday afternoon. You have to take time and savor it.