Director: Kirk Jones
Cast: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate
Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Katherine Moennig, Melissa Leo,
James Frain, Ben Schwartz
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Website: http://www.everybodysfinemovie.com/
Opening Day: 28 January 2010 (Exclusive release
to Cathay Cineplexes)
FINE,” a remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Stanno
Tutti Bene,” follows a widower (De Niro) who embarks
on an impromptu road trip to reconnect with each of his grown
children only to discover that their lives are far from picture
perfect. At the heart of "Everybody's Fine" is the
theme of family and physical and emotional distances traveled
to bring the members back together.
know how the typical Christmas family movie goes- Dad and/or
Mum waits for their grown-up kids to come home for the holidays,
discovers that all is not fine with the family, tries their
best to smoothen things out just as they did when the kids
were young, and finally everybody realises that family is
still the one thing you can’t live without. Robert De
Niro’s latest starrer "Everybody’s Fine"
is that kind of a movie- released as it were in the U.S. during
last year’s holiday season- but don’t let its
predictability turn you away.
writer/director Kirk Jones’(Waking Ned Devine) remake
of the 1990 Giuseppe Tornatore film "Stanno Tutti Bene"
is a surprisingly moving and affecting dramedy that paints
a sad but accurate reflection of family life today. Jones’
adaptation preserves the outline of the original- a recently
widowed father decides to pay a surprise visit to his four
adult children when one by one, they cancel their planned
visit to his upstate New York homestead.
four children are the New York artist David (who is missing
for good reason in the movie), the Chicago successful advertising
exec Amy (Kate Beckinsale), the musician Robert (Sam Rockwell)
supposedly a conductor of a touring orchestra and the Las
Vegas performer Rosie (Drew Barrymore). Mum has always been
the “good listener” they say, so all four tell
little about their lives to Dad (Robert De Niro) or choose
to cover up their unhappiness by saying that 'everybody’s
good reason too- bit by bit, Kirk Jones paints a picture of
Dad as the quietly demanding patriarch of the family whose
children feel compelled to live up to his expectations. You’d
soon realise that the soul-searching actually goes both ways,
as Dad begins to grasp why his children were never honest
with him. Thanks to Jones’ deft touch, "Everybody’s
Fine" is a pleasantly layered film that reveals that
the unspoken dynamics behind every family’s idiosyncrasies-
including inevitably our every own.
But Jones is also interested at the changing
interactions among family through the telephone conversations
we have with our loved ones. Once a valuable tool for helping
us keep in touch with one another, the phone has gradually
become an excuse for avoiding face-to-face communication where
wobbly excuses are offered for absences and no-shows. And
Jones creatively injects some irony in his story by portraying
Dad as a retired wire factory worker, basically the guy who
wraps the PVC around the wires to protect the connections.
This tale of familial reconciliation is made
all the more poignant by great acting from its ensemble cast.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Robert De Niro
in a role befitting an actor of his calibre, and though this
role won’t win him any awards, his earnest, subtle performance
does win a great deal of empathy for his character. So too
the sincere performances of Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell
and Drew Barrymore- each of them make their characters ever
so endearing in their own frailties.
the time "Everybody’s Fine" reaches its schmaltzy
ending, you’d find yourself reaching over for that Kleenex.
In fact, by the time it ends, you might just find yourself
wanting to give a call to a family member whom you have not
seen or heard from in a while. Though family won’t make
your troubles go away, it’s nice to know that they are
there to make it a little better. And yes, if you’d
ask me, "Everybody’s Fine" is a very fine
(It doesn’t stray from formula, but this bittersweet
family movie packs more than enough honest emotions to move
even the most cynical at heart)
Review by Gabriel Chong