Patrick Wang's In the Family exposes the injustice of denying family rights to gay parents.
Patrick Wang's In the Family exposes the injustice of denying family rights to gay parents.

Patrick Wang’s moving debut feature appropriates the story arc of a courtroom drama, but the law turns out to be less pivotal than such old-fashioned ideas as fairness and decency. Joey (Wang), an interior designer in a small Tennessee town, reels after his lover, Cody (Trevor St. John), is killed in a car accident. His greatest solace is six-year-old Chip, the boy he and Cody were raising together, but Joey discovers to his shock that Cody’s will assigns custody of the boy to Cody’s sister, Betsy (Lisa Altomare). A patient and crafty storyteller, Wang establishes Joey’s emotional claim to Chip long before we understand that his legal claim is groundless, and the notion that gay partners deserve family rights is developed so quietly and unobtrusively that it seems to be reinforced, rather than undermined, by the movie’s staunchly conservative milieu.