Everybody's Fine (1990) Poster

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Everybody Is Fine or How We All Become Out of Focus in An Indifferent World
stannotuttibene3 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Mateo Scuro, like his name, is in the dark. Both symbolically and really. With his thick-lens glasses, Mateo looks out at a world that has become distorted by progress, poor eyesight and the reality of being forgotten. A pensioner who has not seen his children in years, Mateo says goodbye to his wife in Sicily and travels to the mainland of Italy to begin a journey to see his five children. He wants to surprise them and so he does not tell them of his plans. But the real surprises are waiting for Mateo.

Traveling from one city to the next, Mateo calls on each child with great anticipation to see the meaningful impact they are having on Italian life. But life quickly hits Mateo squarely between the eyes and forces him to see clearly. Each child is hiding something from their father who does not see well. Their lives are not what they appear to be. They are unhappy working in menial jobs or with their relationships. But their real secret is the crushing blow for a doting father. The youngest son, Alvaro, has committed suicide and none of the others can bring themselves to telling their father the truth.

Toward the end of Tornatore's cinematic statement about the isolation of being forgotten, Mateo and his two surviving sons meet for dinner. His daughters, grandchildren and of course, Alvaro, are not present. This staple of Italian life and joy, the family table, now becomes Mateo's nightmare when he learns of Alvaro's death.

Tornatore is a master of the dream sequence. In the tradition of Fellini and Wertmueller, Tornatore give us insight into Mateo's deepest fears of losing his family through a dream. We see a large, black balloon, with tether ropes hanging down, descend on a beach where Mateo, his wife and children are playing years before. As this balloon descends, picks up his children and carries them away, Mateo runs to them but cannot reach them. He watches them float away into the sky. This foreshadowing of Mateo's life comes to fruition when at the film's end, Mateo is in a hospital room recovering from an episode of what can only be interpreted as the most profound disappointment of all--the loss of one's family.

Upon returning home, the camera is looking into the eyes of Mateo as he recounts to his wife the details of his trip. However as the camera pans back, we see that Mateo is speaking to the headstone of the grave where his wife is buried. As he answers his wife's imagined question of how the children are, Mateo answers, "Stanno tutti bene" (Everyone's fine).

Tornatore uses dream sequences and the symbolism of being out of focus as well as in the dark with masterful irony. These images are driven home with all the force of a sledge hammer as the director takes the viewer, through Mateo, on a journey of anticipated-joys, awakenings and ultimate disillusions.

Mateo's dreams, failing eyesight and loneliness are his steadfast companions through his remaining years. Tornatore paints a picture for the viewer of life as a deception from the most unlikeliest of sources--those we love the most. For Mateo, being in the dark is the best kind of medicine he could hope for--a world where Stanno Tutti Bene.
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A Wonderfully Poignant journey
mounini14 July 2010
I like Robert De Niro as much as anyone, however the American version of Stanno Tutti Bene reduces the main role encapsulated with such finesse and effortlessness by Marcello Mastroianni that I must insist the original be viewed to compare...I recommend anyone with a genuine appreciation of Italian cinema to rent this movie. Sadly it remains unavailable in DVD. I am advised that it will soon be.

Stanno tutti Bene is without a doubt one of Mastroianni's finest performance,he captures both our eyes and our hearts as an endearing Italian patriarch. The story is simple spiced by moments of pure emotion and also humour. A sombre,sad,almost clown like humour is projected by Mastroianni's interpretation the evident disconnection with reality he is faced with really does tell us that at times "Ignorance is bliss"
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A wonderful tale of awakening. Mastroianni is excellent.
Ymir49 October 2003
Giuseppe Tornatore is best known for the excellent, Oscar-winning "Cinema Paradiso," but unlike that film, "Everybody's Fine" is rarely talked about. One of my all-time favorite actors, Marcello Mastroianni (8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, Big Deal on Madonna Street), plays Don Matteo, an aging Sicilian father of five who goes on a trip throughout Italy to try and visit all of his children. This is a trip of revelation for Matteo, who believes his children to be happy and wealthy. Gradually, the truth comes down.

Throughout the movie, Matteo is haunted by dreams of a beautiful Felliniesque day at a beach in which a caravan of horses are destroyed by an ominous descending black balloon that also steals his children. This isn't the only thing in the film that is inspired by Fellini, there are a LOT of things in here that echo the great Fellini's work (including a shot of a bus driving by our main character, it's passangers with their hands on the windows glaringly staring at him...GOOD STUFF).

It's a very warm, sentimental film, and I thought it was quite wonderful. Legendary composer Ennio Morricone's extraordinary score fits the film like a glove.
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Unbearably poignant and affecting drama,another masterpiece from Cinema Paradiso director Tornatore
DrLenera25 March 2005
Guiseppe Tornatore's first film after the wonderful Cinema Paradiso got little attention when it came out and is not even available on DVD yet. Perhaps the increasing darkness of tone{ replacing the lightness of early scenes}of the film put people off,but now that we can all see Cinema Paradiso in it's director's cut {rather than the hacked up,simplified version that originally came out in 1989},this should not really be a surprise.

Again we have a film that celebrates life but asks questions about what is best in life,and whether we all make the right decisions. The movie centres on an absolutely wonderful performance by a 70 -odd Marcello Mastroiani,in a role that allows him the full gamut of emotions,from great joy to terrible sadness.

As before mentioned,the film is deceptively lighthearted at first. As Mastroiani travels from Rome to visit his children,Tornatore gives us some amusing and colourful snapshots of Italian life {or rather,life in general}. The observation with a touch of caricature recalls Fellini {another reviewer has pointed out the many similarities to Fellini so I will not repeat them all}. Particularly great is the lunatic who makes a sculpture out of.....aerials,some kind of statement about the evils of technological progress no doubt. Even here,more serious bits creep in,such as a surreal but very symbolic dream scene shown in several bits and an incredibly touching little moment where Mastroiani is in the same hotel room he spent his honeymoon night in and recalls that time.

As the film gets more serious and deeper it becomes a very poignant study of a man who feels lost,out of touch with everything,not just his children,who simply want the best for him but are actually somewhat embarrassed by him,but the world itself. These two elements reach their synthesis in a really haunting scene where Mastroiani,alone and homeless,spends the night in a box and visions of his children,as actual children,come to him. All this is seemingly resolved with just a bit of hope and happiness,than Tornatore delivers a killer of a punchline at the end which really makes us re access our views of Mastroiani's character.

As with {the full version of} Cinema Paradiso, and later on The Starmaker and {perhaps to a lesser extent}Malena,Everybody's Fine is sentimental but in a tough way. There is a great deal of emotion,both for the character's and for us,but its tempered with both a sense of realism and a wider sense of life and what is best for us in life.

With an absolutely superb score by Ennio Morricone,ranging from the jaunty,Baroque-like overture and 'travelling' theme to the tragic waltz for the 'hero',Everybody's Fine is a great film. Of course it's not as good as Cinema Paradiso,but are there many films that are? {I'm biased though,as it's my favourite film!}.
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make time for this film!
RaquelitaP30 April 2002
This really is a wonderful film. Though at times it is hard to watch. All this kind man wants is to know that his children are happy and doing okay in their adult lives. One must pay close attention to each scene because in each of these scenes, one can find some sort of message that links the whole movie together. The most important scenes to look out for are the dream sequences and the flashbacks.
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One of the best films in your lifetime
ar6569 February 2003
I saw this film many years ago, and still think of it as one of the finest movies ever. The reason I came today to comment it is that while reviewing the comments about another film I saw yesterday, I find that that that one was among the 50 best films in IMDB. While that move was good, I could not see how this one is not even among the 250 best.

If you are a father of children who moved away, or if you are a child who moved away from your birthplace, you will appreciate this movie. It applies to Italian immigrants, or to African immigrants in Italy (there is a scene showing them sleeping in cardboard boxes that shows how human is that experience of being alone in a foreign place). you do not even have to leave your country, as this movie shows, to find yourself trying to make it alone, and trying to make your parents believe that you are OK. Of course, like in every good lie, some help from the person being lied is also needed.

If you can rent it, or if you hear of this movie being shown on your local station, please see it. It will be one of the best movies you will se in your life. It is a 10/10 for me.
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orbanei18 April 2002
Another excellent movie with an excellent actor and also an excellent director! This movie is not lacking anything. The theme is excellent and the way he approaches the truth, every son he visits he gets closer and closer........Tornatore's excellence. I have not seen "cinema paraiso" but this movie is definitely is a touching movie where 'everybody is fine' just to make one person fine. Can lying sometimes even for the good of a person can be positive?
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A delightful visual feast and cinematic event
m.wells22 March 2000
Warning: Spoilers
A delightful visual feast and cinematic event that is thoroughly recommended. A stimulating leading role from Marcello Mastroianni and a script peppered with some brilliant gentle comedy. A subtitled film that is a joy to watch.
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What a wonderful film...
leparrain52 May 2002
This film should not be missed, it's an amazing job by one of the best actors, Mr. Mastroianni has shown us what acting is all about. What a wonderful story... what a wonderful film!
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Very touching movie
abelina6 July 2000
Facing one's parents, the sentence mostly said from us is "everybody's fine". The grown up children don't want their older parents to worry about them, and hide their problems and sadness. Sometimes, to find the truth out may not be the best way. The movie shows us the permanent love from parents and reminds us to review the relationship with parents. Very touching and lovely movie.
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A wonderful and charming film
knobler27 December 1998
Familial love and deceptions form the basis for this witty, endearing movie. Like Cinema Paradiso, from the same director, this film shows the limits of nostalgia -- and the magic of it. Heavy sentimentality.
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The other reviews here have far more spoilers than mine.
fedor82 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
STB is an Italian movie through and through - the only atypical quality being that it doesn't stink. (And that there isn't the usual amount of shouting.) This is a sort of sentimental road movie/comedy with the obligatory festival-crowd-pleasing surreal scenes, such as people freezing up at stations or a huge balloon/jelly-fish/whatever lifting up all of Mastroianni's kids up into the air. That's the sort of Felini-like stuff which IQ-starved film students go absolutely ga-ga over, regardless of whether it relates to the rest of the movie or not. "Weird stuff! Yeaaah!"

As far as I'm concerned, STB isn't dull and that's all that matters. Besides, its experimental approach (if one can call it that) never has an air of pretentious baloney about it. Perhaps we have Mastroianni to thank for that, who plays it very down-to-Earth. Even when he spits out wise words of advice to his offspring there isn't that unrealistic expectation from the viewer to gasp with shock, bewilderment and awe, something very common in so many other European movies, especially from the 60s and 70s. Too many directors think they reveal the secrets of the universe in their modest little underachieving flicks. Not the case here; at least not in annoying amounts. STB is likable and even amusing at times.

As for the "experimental approach", if every other movie that Italians (and other Continentals) release has the same type of surreal silliness going on, then it isn't really experimental anymore, is it? It becomes normal, unsurprising, stale even.

It's far easier to cobble up a script chock-full of "metaphoric" nonsense than to actually sit down and write a compact, stirring script with a beginning, middle, and end. STB leans far more heavily toward the latter.
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Very average fare
bouncingoffwall24 September 2003
Marcello Mastroianni's acting is superb, and Ennio Morricone's score is great. I wasn't surprised at the accomplishment of either of these two talented men. The movie, however, was disappointing.

For me, the dream sequences and the surreal imagery didn't fit in well with the rest of the film. At times, the editing could have separated these from reality better. The movie simply didn't fall together well enough to keep me interested in the choppy storyline.
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STB - a wonderful film.
cjkombi27 May 2017
This film is no .1 on my desert island films list . I watch it once a year and see something new each time.My DVD is subtitled in Italian presumably for deaf folk but I know most of the words from my now worn out VHS version,the improved visual definition is worth it. I would like to know where the Sicillian locations are.Trapani is obvious but the early seaside and final grave site I don't know where. Indulge me here: near the end when Matteo returns to Trapani his Aln 668 railcar glides into the station,pause the frame and one can see the road no. of the vehicle.I visited same station in 2001 and rode a bit on those railcars and with a magnifying glass I noted that the one I took to Palermo had the same no.! For a trainspotting cinephile it doesn't get much better. Back to film, it has various lessons for all members of families to learn from.Plus the soundtrack ! most expensive cd I've ever bought--- it so good.
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Not as Good as Cinema Paradiso
greigroselli28 December 1998
This film is definitely different in perspective on family life compared to "Cinema Paradiso". It is not as sentimental, but very real. The viewer is able to see everything in the father's eyes, played by Marcello Mastroianni. When he sees his children, he sees them how they once were -- not as adults. Mastroianni is always excellent. It is funny though to see him as a father and a grandfather when one is so used to seeing him as a bachelor, like in "La Dolce Vita". I was able to feel the love he had for his children and also the hurt when the truth was brought out in front of him. We all want so much for our children and it is painful to see it otherwise. An excellent statement. Besides the message the film brought, it also gave the viewer a good dose of the Italian countryside, Roma, and Milano. The travel scenes were an added touch. Nothing can beat "Cinema Paradiso" in tenderness, but "Stanno tutti bene" is not too far off!
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