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Once the trailer hit the internet, I knew I was going to see this
movie. Nostalgia, De Niro and Barrymore were the primary reasons. Of
those reasons, Nostalgia and De Niro were most responsible for the big
lump in my throat and regret that I had no Kleenex.
We go to movies to either escape reality or simply live in fantasy, don't we? I have to say, so much reality existed in this movie, escapism and fantasy seemed totally lost. The subtleties of everyday life can mean so much in retrospect. Every little thing that we do, no matter its importance, can come back and haunt us. That, surprisingly, is what makes this movie so real and endearing.
Nothing about Everybody's Fine is lacking if you can find yourself or someone you know in this movie. The beauty of it is, you will find someone you know. If you haven't tricked yourself into thinking this might be like Christmas Vacation or Planes, Trains and Automobiles, then I hope you can appreciate its evenly paced, nostalgia filled beauty.
De Niro has outdone himself with this simple heart-filled "grown family" film. I can truthfully say I liked him more in this than anything else he has done, although I also believe he probably didn't have to dig too deep into his soul to be Frank Goode. I will be surprised if he has not turned the heads and hearts of those who can nominate him for an Oscar. While all the characters were easy to relate to, this movie was more about Frank Goode's journey from state to state and through life.
Believe me, Everybody's Fine is more than just fine.
9/10 and one giant hug for everyone involved in making this beautiful film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If trailers were ever suggesting that Everybody's Fine might be a
comedy, or even only a light-hearted drama, they were truly misleading,
and a simple drama denominator from its poster does the movie better
justice. Though, and not the least thanks to occasional humorous
undertones, evidently somewhat a weaker part of the movie, and despite
really uneasy feelings that story frequently brings out (viewers are
often ahead of father in whatever sad facts his not-everybody's-fine
children have concealed from him), one can get almost exhilarated with
quite an optimistic ending when the father, Frank Goode (Robert De
Niro), on his disastrous cross-country tour to meet his children, one
by one, not without a trouble of going through serious health problems,
finally reconvenes with surviving ones (Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell,
and Drew Barrymore) and, postmortem, reconciles with his long ago
estranged, ultimately lost son, finally coming to terms with his
artistic limitations, even seeking to buy one of his paintings. An
early sketch he discovers speaks volumes within the running metaphor of
Frank's life, with its working part spent in putting coating on
telephone wires that should connect people. However, when those wires,
in the times subsequent to his wife's demise, continue transferring
embellished pictures of lives of his own ones, in order not to
disappoint fatherly expectations, unfairly, in their young lives, so
highly imposed on them, ties get easily broken where it hurts the most,
between father and his children.
One inevitably wonders how such a depressing story, full of toned down, bitter emotions, has even been considered to be made into a Hollywood movie? It becomes easier to understand after discovering financial support (Miramax) and creative mind (British director Kirk Jones) behind it. Times and again, inspiration for such a movie has been drawn from an overseas' predecessor of the same, literally translated original Italian title, Stanno tutti bene, from directorial output of Giuseppe Tornatore, best known for his masterpiece (Nuovo) Cinema Paradiso.
After a longer while, this movie finally offers a role deserving of Robert De Niro's great talent, often wasted on mediocre films. His latest, truly emotional tour de force, rather different from his memorable, primarily physically demanding roles earlier in his career, made his character here, though fully resonant, yet quite independent of whoever he associates with, whether he interacts with his own, up to his high hopes underachieving one, or talks to a total stranger whom he meets while on his tour.
As coincidence would have it, it is interesting to notice: Robert De Niro was 66 years old in 2009, while shooting Everybody's Fine, the very same age as the late Marcello Mastroianni at the time when he had done Stanno tutti bene, in 1990. An old-fashioned (meant as a compliment) song, (I Want To) Come Home, from a year older Paul McCartney (67) is featured in the movie and accompanies the end credits.
I saw this movie last night in a crowded theatre with persons of
varying ages. At the conclusion of the film, I noticed smiles and tears
in the eyes of the older viewers and some boredom and rush to leave in
the younger ones. This is a movie for parents and will probably not
appeal much to the under 25 set.
That said, this is a beautiful, heart-felt, and sometimes painful story of a father recognizing and coming to grips with the reality of his parenting and his lack of control over his children's lives. It is about truth and how we try to spare others pain or discomfort. It is about how many parents still see their grown up children as small children who we are responsible for.
While the supporting cast turn in good performances, this is Robert DeNiro's movie. It is his best performance since Awakenings (he deserved that Oscar, and not just the nomination).
I suspect that this film will get a lot of nominations, but don't think it will win many awards. I base that on the idea that they younger voters have not yet been in the shoes of the older ones and will not be fully able to appreciate the character or his growth and understanding.
How many times have you ever asked, or ever were asked the question:
How are things? Invariably, one replies, "everything is fine," except
of course it's not true. The response is a polite brush-off. This movie
is about how a man decides not to accept the brush-off, this time
coming from his own children and as a result makes some interesting
discoveries. This movie contains Robert DeNiro's strongest role in
years. The entire story revolves around his character and he really
brings the character to life. A brilliant performance by a great actor.
This movie is like Robert Young in Father-Knows-Best deciding to really
connect with his children after years of just being around. What's even
better is that the movie avoids becoming trite and effectively brings
the audience into this family's world as the story explores themes that
are relevant to all families. Children grow up, leave the home, go
their separate ways, leaving behind memories. A wonderful movie.
Ah, platitudes. We're all guilty of using them. They're a polite way of telling someone to buzz off, that you don't want to talk to them, that they are unworthy of your time. This movie is all about platitudes, most cruelly applied when it's least needed or wanted. In this movie a man wants to initiate communication with his children, all of whom are adults and have long since left the home, and he and his children go through a lot of changes as they attempt to bridge the gulf that separates them. This doesn't mean the children don't care about their father, they do. But the emotional closeness was never there and this is what this movie is about: breaking down barriers to establish an emotional connection. This movie is a Robert DeNiro vehicle. It is his re-emergence onto the Hollywood scene after years of cinematic oblivion. His performance is a tour de force; he deserves at least an Academy Award nomination for best actor. He carries the movie. Drew Barrymore also gives an impressive performance as one of Mr. DeNiro's daughters. Ms. Barrymore shines on the screen and proves once again that she is one of the premiere actresses in Hollywood. Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsdale also are excellent. What a great movie! Never cold-shoulder your father.
This is the best Robert DeNiro movie in years. His strong acting carries this sentimental story about a man trying to reconnect with his children. The movie places a strong emphasis on family relationships and does an excellent job in engaging and keeping the audience's attention as Mr. DeNiro's character embarks on an odyssey of emotional discovery. At times the story verges on becoming openly maudlin but succeeds in avoiding that pitfall. The movie also avoids becoming hokey and corny and succeeds in staying on course as the DeNiro character continues on his journey. All in all, this is a wonderful movie featuring a strong performance by Robert DeNiro. After watching this movie, you will think twice before telling someone "everybody's fine" unless you mean it.
Based on Guiseppe Tornatore's 1990 Italian film, Stanno tutti bene,
writer/director Kirk Jones has brought some of the best work out of
Robert DeNiro in decades. Everybody's Fine is a fascinating tale about
Frank (DeNiro), a widower who wants to get his four adult children
together for dinner, but when one by one they all cancel for good
reasons or lack of a better word excuses, he decides against the advice
of his doctor, to make a surprise trip to all their residences in New
York, Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas. What the trip brings him however,
is a heavy realization that despite what his late-wife told him, maybe
everybody's not fine.
Treading heavy territory to resemble films like About Schmidt, Everybody's Fine is a heartfelt, emotional film that will leave you in tears. Though the narrative could come off a bit over-dramatic at times, there's no denying the warmth that the film conveys to family and loyalty. DeNiro is most effective in his role of Frank Goode, the hard-working father whose long hours putting up coating on telephone wire may have cost him more than he thought. Director, Kirk Jones makes some great artistic choices, especially in the final scenes of the film. One thing however that is surprising is how the film is being marketed. Portraying itself as a holiday-comedy is going to be quite unexpected to viewers as the film is weighty with emotion and less on the laughs.
The supporting players, in this case the adult children, are all beautifully cast. Drew Barrymore has never been sweeter in the role of Rosie, a dancer in Vegas with a "Daddy's Girl" mentality. Kate Beckinsale is stunning in looks and adequate in delivery as Amy, a top advertisement executive. Sam Rockwell, who is long overdue for Oscar attention, plays Robert, the musician who painfully seeks his father's approval.
Enough can't be said about DeNiro who gives one of his finest performances of his career. Showing a softer side yet remaining in tuned with his fatherly instincts, DeNiro has redeemed some of his lesser works in the past years. He takes in some of the best and worst parts of all fathers' across the world. Worrying yet too hard at times it spills over into his children's decisions. Where the narrative misses in some aspects, DeNiro makes up for with his devotion and commitment to the character. It's an outstanding turn for him in his late career.
Over-dramatic, cliché, and a bit predictable, Everybody's Fine shows a beating heart. There's no stupidity or attitude in its form, just pure feeling. If you come from a family of secrets for the greater good (which may be the majority of us), this will speak volumes.
When I went to see this, I expected one of those progressive stories
like he was getting ditched and as he went and surprised them things
got better, they had laughs and things were healed sort of typical
thing. But it definitely didn't go down like that. There were about
maybe 8 people in the theater when I went to see this movie, 3 of them
were me and my 2 friends.
I have to say this movie was really sad and had a lot to say about child/parent relations. I am only 18 years old but I love these types of films and it made me think about how I would be with my parents when I get older and it really makes me want to make sure I keep a good relationship with my parents. My dad has always pushed me and wanted better for me in school and I have always been very average and against the grain, as it seems like David was.
I don't know if the makers wanted the relation between Frank and his kids to seem empty, but that's how it seemed to be throughout the film until the end. Even if it was lack of chemistry between actors, which of course I highly doubt it was, it works wonders and shows that Frank is like an alien to them and also that they are alien to him. When he learns that all of his children aren't actually as successful, he seems like he's struggling within to try and understand where they're coming from instead of just showing his disappointment. When things finally come tumbling down towards the film's climax, they come right back together as a family would. This movie made me tear up and really the only reason I didn't cry was because I was with friends.
I could write a lot more about this but I'll just suggest that if you're looking for a good movie about family, or even if you just like De Niro(that's why I saw it), you should definitely see this movie. It won't disappoint.
Went to a screening of this film today, and I had decided not to watch the trailer, or read anything about the movie before. Looking at the poster, I was expecting a Christmas-y comedy or something like that. I was totally wrong (and don't get me wrong this is definitely not a bad thing for the movie!) Just don't expect a laugh out loud comedy. It did have it's funny moments though, and those were great. The movie made me feel really really bad for the De Niro character, and through the whole thing just made me want to go give him a big hug LOL. De Niro's performance was great and made you feel what that character was feeling at that time. The other performances were also fairly good. All in all, a good movie as long as you are not expecting a straight out comedy! I would definitely recommend seeing this one when it comes out in theaters.
Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/director Kirk Jones just
needs to work a little more frequently. His first two projects were the
fascinating Waking Ned Devine and the deeper than expected Nanny
McPhee. The guy has some real talent and unique insight. He is also
wise enough to cast Robert Deniro and then bring out his best
performance in years.
Sure, there are some similarities to Nicholson's wonderful turn in About Schmidt, but contrary to the trailers, this one is no light-hearted holiday fluff. There are deep emotions and more real-life family baggage than most will care to admit (translated, there were quite a few sniffles in the theatre).
Deniro's kids are scattered about leading their own lives after a childhood of pressure, demands and expectations. The differences in how each have handled it is very interesting. Drew Barrymore wants very much to be the daddy's girl, while Kate Beckinsale is the corporate type-A who just can't manage her family. The always excellent Sam Rockwell is the music prodigy enjoying his stress-free live as a symphonic percussionist (instead of a conductor). The youngest is a troubling story line that ends up tying everything together for the Deniro character, as well as the family.
Aside from the mostly atrocious music, this one is an emotional tug-fest that will stimulate a bit of self-analysis from all parents.
I wasn't planning on seeing this movie until I read some of the other IMDb reviews--then I reconsidered because one of the reviewers said it would be more meaningful to older folks with adult children. Glad I did. It's a little gem. It's more like a European film really, where nothing much happens (action-wise) but the characters are so well-drawn. Or, to put it another way, it's like reading a novel by Anne Tyler. I did think of ABOUT SCHMIDT during this movie--similar theme of a recent widower on a road-trip of self-discovery--but only to reflect on DeNiro's more subtle characterization. The movie is very well cast as a whole and all the acting, particularly from the child actors, is very natural and unaffected.
This is not your typical holiday movie nor at the end of the week-
movie.Not everybody's fine.
The story revolves around a father(De Niro), who's wife has passed away, and his desire to reunite his four children for the holidays.Now, when he's alone, preparing the house for the upcoming holidays, all of his children cancel the holiday meeting with no explanation.The lonely man sets on a journey around the States to find his children and learn the truth as well as to reunite the family again.The truths, he finds, are more painful, than he could ever imagine.
The story is obvious at the beginning-but then the viewer begins to discover painful truths, the now-grown-kids are keeping away from their loving father.There are some very inventing and innovating twists, that are merely unpredictable.The story is told beautifully, with some poetry in it, which improves on Robert De Niro's brilliant acting.I would say, he deserves a higher praise, for what he has done, because i personally think, that Jeff Bridges wasn't better than him, with all my respect, of course.De Niro's outstanding performance carries the movie until the end.
As for the other cast, i wasn't that impressed.Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore were at the same level of quality, but that just wasn't enough.Sam Rockwell was mediocre, definitely not good enough.I know they were supposed to be cold, but even coldness can be portrayed better than that.
The director did his best, which wasn't that much, considering the cast and script he had to work with.Every director should be able to pull it off, when he works with an amazing actors (again, mostly De Niro in that case), and a solid script.But as a whole, he did a good job.
I felt, that the tragedy was a little to much in the end, but things couldn't have been better revealed than this.It was depressing, but necessary to say the least.And again, i'm looking at De Niro with new eyes now, he touched me so deep.
The pain is deep sometimes.But you have to fight with it to keep your family united, and together, no matter the distance.The distance in your heart is, what really matters.And in the end Everybody's Fine.
My rate: 8.5/10
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