If trailers were ever suggesting that Everybody's Fine might be acomedy, or even only a light-hearted drama, they were truly misleading,and a simple drama denominator from its poster does the movie betterjustice. Though, and not the least thanks to occasional humorousundertones, evidently somewhat a weaker part of the movie, and despitereally uneasy feelings that story frequently brings out (viewers areoften ahead of father in whatever sad facts his not-everybody's-finechildren have concealed from him), one can get almost exhilarated withquite an optimistic ending when the father, Frank Goode (Robert DeNiro), on his disastrous cross-country tour to meet his children, oneby 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 agoestranged, ultimately lost son, finally coming to terms with hisartistic limitations, even seeking to buy one of his paintings. Anearly sketch he discovers speaks volumes within the running metaphor ofFrank's life, with its working part spent in putting coating ontelephone wires that should connect people. However, when those wires,in the times subsequent to his wife's demise, continue transferringembellished pictures of lives of his own ones, in order not todisappoint fatherly expectations, unfairly, in their young lives, sohighly 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 Hollywoodmovie? It becomes easier to understand after discovering financialsupport (Miramax) and creative mind (British director Kirk Jones)behind it. Times and again, inspiration for such a movie has been drawnfrom an overseas' predecessor of the same, literally translatedoriginal Italian title, Stanno tutti bene, from directorial output ofGiuseppe Tornatore, best known for his masterpiece (Nuovo) CinemaParadiso.
After a longer while, this movie finally offers a role deserving ofRobert De Niro's great talent, often wasted on mediocre films. Hislatest, truly emotional tour de force, rather different from hismemorable, primarily physically demanding roles earlier in his career,made his character here, though fully resonant, yet quite independentof whoever he associates with, whether he interacts with his own, up tohis high hopes underachieving one, or talks to a total stranger whom hemeets while on his tour.
As coincidence would have it, it is interesting to notice: Robert DeNiro was 66 years old in 2009, while shooting Everybody's Fine, thevery same age as the late Marcello Mastroianni at the time when he haddone Stanno tutti bene, in 1990. An old-fashioned (meant as acompliment) song, (I Want To) Come Home, from a year older PaulMcCartney (67) is featured in the movie and accompanies the endcredits.
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