Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Justifiably overlooked DVD of the month - EVERYBODY'S FINE

EVERYBODY'S FINE is an embarrassingly bad movie - shamelessly manipulative, bland, banal, unoriginal, and just plain dull. It tells the story of Frank Goode (Robert de Niro) - a retired widower whose four children bail on a family visit at the last minute. So, armed with his medicine and against his doctor's advice, he boards trains and buses to visit them all in turn. First he turns up at artist David's flat only to find it deserted. His other three grown children will keep up the evasion of where David really is - trying to protect a father they really have no means of communicating with authentically. Each evasion is more painful than the next. On the second visit, Frank's daughter (Kate Beckinsale) is caught out using her son's illness to escape the family visit. She seems self-absorbed and her son finds the grandfather irrelevant. The third visit is with Frank's other son, (Sam Rockwell), a percussionist in a regional orchestra. His father seems disappointed that he didn't become a conductor - the son seems ashamed to have let down his father but incapable of persuading him that this is what he wants. The final visit is with the other daughter (Drew Barrymore) who seems to have more time for her father, but by this time, he's out of meds and increasingly disillusioned. There is, however, no real enlightenment here. No real questioning or exploration of the relationships. Just think - this is same material - these doubts and neuroses about parental expectations and evasions - that powered the cinema of Ingmar Bergman. And just see what schmaltz and banality it is reduced to in its final act.  I am hardly surprised that this movie went straight to DVD in the UK. 

Additional tags: Kirk Jones, Henry Braham, Melissa Leo, James Frain, Andrew Modshein, Dario Marianelli

EVERYBODY'S FINE was released in winter 2009/2010 in the US, Israel, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Hong Kong, Sweden, Lebanon, Singapore, Panama, Australia, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Kuwait, Estonia, Peru, Argentina, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Philippines and Italy.

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