First the Announcement, Then the Understanding
"Anyone and Everyone," which looks at how various couples took the news that their child is gay, ultimately decides to be an advocacy film rather than a documentary. But before it does, it tells some truly moving stories of the power of parental love.
The film, now receiving sporadic showings on PBS goes out of its way to be inclusive, with families that cover a range of races and religions. They all tell essentially the same story: shock when a child announces that he or she is gay, followed by a process of learning and acceptance by the parents.
The pace of that process varies, often counterintuitively. In the film's most beautiful vignette, a Mormon father reacts immediately and dramatically when his wife tells him their son is gay - and in the opposite way from what you might expect, given his church's teachings about homosexuality.
Another lovely moment comes from a Japanese-American mother who tells how a support group led her to overcome personal and cultural shock and embrace her lesbian daughter. "They helped me to understand," she says, "that even if I knew my truth as a heterosexual person, there must be one more truth."
Throughout the film, which is by Susan Polis Schutz, the couples involved allude darkly to other families that have been torn apart by the same pressures. But Ms. Schutz does not pursue such couples. We don't meet the parents who, rather than rejecting religious beliefs to hold on to a child, have done the opposite.
Instead the film ends up being a sort of pep talk for parents and general plea for gay rights. A more substantial film would have shown us more starkly that not all stories have happy endings.