“Tell me the good news and spare me the bad”
Everybody’s fine. Seriously? Are Frank Goode’s four children, now grown-ups and settled all across the US, truly as fine as they claim to be? When they all cancelled on him for a family reunion, Frank decides to surprise them, turning up at their homes unexpectedly. What starts as a heart-warming dramatic comedy, turns out to be a hectic road movie, taking Frank on trains and Greyhound buses from New York to Chicago, Denver and Las Vegas.
Written and directed by Kirk Jones, Everybody’s Fine is an entertaining remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s Stanno Tutti Bene, starring Robert De Niro as Frank Goode who tries to live the American Dream and expects his children to work hard to achieve their goals. Since his children thought they did not live up to their father’s expectations, they decide to pretend to be someone they are not to make him proud.
His successful daughter Amy (Kate Beckinsale) pretends to be in a happy relationship, Robert (Sam Rockwell) turns out to be a percussionist instead of a world-class conductor, Rosie (Drew Barrymore) is not the supposed dancer and star of Vegas, and not until the end the audience gets to see artist David (Austin Lysy) who got into serious troubles in Mexico. But since our protagonist is a brilliant observer, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out the truth and what’s really going on.
Filled with numerous clichés, it is a touching and intelligently acted family drama, created about themes such as love, the importance of family and doing what makes you happy instead of living someone else’s dream. The movie is refreshingly open, even though we could have expected more sensitiveness from the actors. Nevertheless, Robert De Niro and his supporting cast did a great job and contributed to making Everybody’s Fine just fine.
Released by Miramax Films in 2009.
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
“Everybody’s Fine” is rated PG-13.