From the first time he performed Swimming to Cambodia - the one-man account of his experience of making the 1984 film The Killing Fields - Spalding Gray made the art of the monologue his own. Drawing unstintingly on the most intimate aspects of his own life, his shows were vibrant, hilarious and moving. His death came tragically early, in 2004; this compilation of interview and performance footage nails his idiosyncratic and irreplaceable brilliance.Written by
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Just watched this and must say it is totally brilliant.
Soderbergh has brought us SPALDING GRAY'S FINAL MONOLOGUE with the film, "And Everything Is Going Fine".
He compiles what is essentially a final autobiographical testament of Gray's life using rare footage of his TV interviews, recordings of his theatrical monologues, and even some footage taken personally by Gray with his family members.
A simple mash-up of such footage gives Gray the oppourtunity to bring us one final monologue- from the grave- speaking about himself, just as he loved to do...for our pleasure, and his sanity!!! He truly was the best monologist, one-man-show and storyteller to ever grace the stage.
And Soderbergh- whom directed Gray's Anatomy (Gray's 1996 monologue,which is beautifully shot) and King of the Hill (in which Gray played the role of Mr. Mungo)- must get props for not succumbing to the urge of telling Gray's story, but instead appropriately allowing Gray to tell it himself. Collaborating through selectivity and editing, Soderbergh plays a role much like the one he did when filming his earlier monologue.
Gray begins this story by discussing the overwhelming influence his mother had on him...an influence that would consume and eventually take his life. He continues by talking about his journey to Hollywood, becoming an actor, his various escapades, his travels to India, the art of writing and performing monologues, the art of acting, the value of conversing with the audience and people off the street, his marriage, keeping secrets, and ending with a recollection of his experience of being in a major accident, one he would never fully recover from.
Throughout this monologue he reflects upon life, living, death, growing up, sex, love, relationships, experience, creative narcissism, psychology and the limitations of being human, hardship, depression, and, most importantly, introspection.
On January 10, 2004, after watching the film "Big Fish" Spalding Gray got on the Staten Island Ferry from which he would jump, committing suicide, as his mother did before him. Gray killed himself as a result of the major depression that plagued him after the accident he discusses near the end of the film. I have included this information here, but Soderbergh decided to omit it from the film. He does this so we can remember him for what he did in life, as opposed to how he exited in death. (and because Gray can't tell us the story of his death from the beyond...if only...)
This can be contrasted with the film "Lenny Bruce - Without Tears" in which Fred Baker decided to not only discuss Bruce's tragic death, but show the photos and video footage of Bruce lying dead naked on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm. I do not hold this against Soderbergh, because I feel that this final testament is true to how "Spud" would want to be remembered. He was always one to create his own myth (as opposed to Bruce who "kept it real"), and it was only appropriate for Soderbergh to let Gray tell his own story.
Shortly after the middle of the film there are a couple interviews in which Gray foreshadows his own tragic death. It is clear from the footage at the end of the film- after the accident- that he never was able to fully recover from the crash- emotionally or physically- and that is what drove him to join his Mother, in death.
May you RIP Spalding, you will never be forgotten! I'm sure you are ecstatic that Soderbergh gave you the chance to bring us one last monologue- your final testament to the world - at least i hope you are. Thank you for everything you've done to entertain us, I hope you gained as much from it as we did.
A definite 10 out of 10, if you loved Spalding Gray as much as I do, you will not want to miss this!!!
14 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this