“In the Family”: Patrick Wang Depicts Gay Fatherhood

In time for Fathers Day, but unfortunately in limited release, a new indie film featuring gay dads is creating quite the buzz. From IMDB about first-time director Patrick Wang‘s In the Family:

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 closer to his son.

In most of the following unusual trailer, while seeing the various characters interact, what we hear is a voiceover from Joey’s new lawyer:

Betsy PickleKnoxville News Sentinel:

Everyday happiness and heartache have never been more beautifully portrayed… Simple and down-to-earth, yet profound and poetic, IN THE FAMILY takes a subject that in any other setting would feel controversial and divisive and makes it a launching point for healing and clarity. Several facts about IN THE FAMILY are astounding. It is the director’s first feature film. One of the principal actors is a little boy who holds his own with any adult. And its running time turns out to be 169 minutes, though it seems as taut as any two-hour film, and in some respects a viewer might want it never to end.

Selected Reviews

Roger Ebert: “…I was completely absorbed from beginning to end. What a courageous first feature this is, a film that sidesteps shopworn stereotypes and tells a quiet, firm, deeply humanist story about doing the right thing. It is a film that avoids any message or statement and simply shows us, with infinite sympathy, how the life of a completely original character can help us lead our own.”

Paul BrunickNew York Times: “What makes ‘In the Family’ so elusive is that it is structured less by story events than whisper-soft subtleties of characterization and unspoken social subtexts. You will, for instance, not hear one overt reference to sexuality, race or gay marriage.”

Andrew SchenkerThe Village Voice:Wang evinces a keen awareness of the ways in which family members interact, grieve, and open their hearts to one another.”

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