Everybody's Fine Movie Reviews
User reviews on Everybody's Fine
This feature film about a widower and his adult children. His wife has just recently passed. He asked each child to join him for the weekend at his home for a family get together. A few days prior to the visit, they all cancel with different reasons. He decides that he would surprise visit each at their own homes and this is when the story begins. Robert DiNero does a wonderful job portraying a aging father that has lost connection with his kids. He discovers over the journey by bus,train and truck that he had missed the mark raising his family and realizes that his children needed to do things that made them happy and not him.
Parents with adult children will connect very well with this movie.
Everybody's Fine, was a great movie to see for the holidays. A snap shot of this movie was about a newly widowed Frank (Robert DeNiro) invites his four kids to spend Thanksgiving with him. They each cancel on him, so he decides to travel by bus and train to individually visit them. In the course of his travels, he learns his children, don't have time for him and he finds there is a distance he has with them. It takes honesty and more heart ache for the relationships of this family to come together. Everybody's Fine envolked several emotions in me. Frank could not see how his expectations had shaped his children to not confide in him but there mother they kept secrets so they would not disappoint him. Throughout the movie Frank seen his kids as little kids and wanted the best for them. By Frank seeing his adult children as little kids it helped the viewer engage with the characters so when they pushed him away the viewer could have some tolarance for their behavior. Frank seems baffled that his kids had been lying to him for years. He gave them premission to confide in him and in the end. What a movie!!! The best part of this movie was DeNiro himself. He was able to get the audience to process emotions. He usually plays tough roles and in this role he was a Dad that loved his kids. This movie is a feel good (and many other things) holiday movie that I think parents of adult children would appreciate.
It's foreign film remake weekend! First, it was Brothers. Now, it's Everybody's Fine, a remake of an Italian film from 1990. Unfortunately, where Brothers was able to take the universal ideas from the original and create something new, Everybody's Fine feels like a remake of a European film. The premise is simple: Newly widowed Frank (Robert DeNiro) invites his four kids to spend Thanksgiving with him. They each cancel on him, so he decides to travel by bus and train to individually visit them. In the course of his travels, he learns about his expectations for his children, the reality of their relationships, and the distance he now has with them. This story has been told a million times before, with varying effectiveness. Everybody's Fine just doesn't work. First, it's way too exploitative emotionally for me. Frank obviously has some issues when it comes to seeing his children as adults and not as the little kids he raised, but do we really need to see that his kids AS kids when he looks at them? It's also a matter of translation. I can see this film working as an Italian film in 1990, but there are just some elements here that don't work. Frank is former blue-collar worker, yet he seems to have pushed his kids into the arts. That's not exactly an American ideal. It's also 2009, where even my senile grandmother is on the internet. Frank seems to be completely oblivious to technology, as a little research on the web would have shown him that his kids have been lying to him for years. Then, there's my biggest problem with this movie: DeNiro himself. DeNiro is the America's greatest living actor, blah, blah, blah (sorry, but I find him very overrated). No matter what movie he's in, at this point he's so recognizable to me that he's always Robert DeNiro, no matter who he's playing. And in this movie, he's supposed to play a nice guy. Robert DeNiro's screen persona may be many things, but the one thing it's not is nice. All of this leads to a supposedly feel good holiday movie that just makes me wish it was the new year already.
By Richard von Busack
WITHIN ITS LIMITS, Everybody’s Fine is an honorable holiday entertainment, sweetened by a happy ending. Robert De Niro expertly downplays the lead role of an upstate New York widower trying to investigate what became of his family. The affectionately viewed American landscapes (mountains by day, lonely streets by night) fit in with the holiday mood of yearning, displacement and dashed hopes.
Everybody’s Fine is a loose remake of the Giuseppe Tornatore/Marcello Mastroianni film of 1990 about an aging man’s realization that his dreams of his family’s prestige are an illusion. Over the titles, De Niro’s Frank is puttering around the lawn of his house in Elmira, N.Y. He is a widower getting ready for a summer barbecue, and he is so slightly out of it that he’s inflating a kiddy pool: he’s forgotten he has no grandchild under the age of 5. Unfortunately, every single one of his four children cancels out of the family reunion via the telephone, citing work and other stresses. Left in solitude, Frank comes up with a bad plan: he’ll surprise his four children in the cities where they live. He’ll travel by land; his lungs, scarred from years with working with polyvinyl chloride, won’t let him fly.
Frank arrives in New York City, but David, his eldest son, is nowhere to be found—the only evidence the son has been there is one of his paintings in the window of a local gallery. Moving on to Chicago via Amtrak, the old man interrupts the life of his high-powered advertising executive daughter Amy (Kate Beckinsale in a very unglam performance) and his grandson Jack (Lucian Maisel). There isn’t room for Frank there, either, so he heads off to Denver, where he’s told that his son Robert (Sam Rockwell) is conducting a symphony orchestra. En route, Frank is proud to see the telephone wires passing his train window, because it was his job to oversee the weatherizing of cables with PVC. He doesn’t know that the buzzing wires are carrying worried messages between his children. They have the word out that the old man is trying to surprise them. Worse, the missing elder son, David, is in serious legal trouble in Mexico.
Everybody’s Fine, then, illustrates the proverb that one father can support four children, but four children can’t support one father.
De Niro looks well—he’s not doddering. An aura of anachronism surrounds this performance that goes beyond the brown Members’ Only jacket he wears throughout the film. Frank is naive about how to conduct himself in cities; he gets mugged helping a junkie sleeping in an Amtrak station. How long has this remake been in development? The Internet doesn’t figure in this story; if Frank had done a little Googling, he would have seen what his children were up to and learned that some of the stories he had heard about their successes were falsehoods.
What saves this drama is the low-keyness. The rapport between Frank and his grandson Jack is particularly well played; neither is intimidated by the other nor overwhelmed by any big emotions. In the Denver scenes, Frank tours a vintage symphony auditorium, where it turns out Robert is a soloist instead of a conductor, and director Kirk Jones gets some pleasure out of the gilded wooden surroundings there, too.
In Las Vegas, where Frank stays with the Cordelia of the bunch, the film is at its warmest. Drew Barrymore plays daughter Rosie, picking Frank up and making him welcome, although her own story of success is just as false as the other offspring’s. Barrymore’s anti-glamour and the cozy richness of her flesh are, as always, appealing. And after watching a likable, untroublesome man being passed off from child to child, it’s only human to want to see someone welcome him. However, when you watch someone as comfortable-looking as Barrymore, it’s hard to imagine why she would lie to a working-class father.
We’re wrapping up a decade of diminished hopes and expectations, a decade when a father might find any child “fine” who has a job and a roof over their head. De Niro’s efforts to make Everybody’s Fine appealing also mean that the role was beefed up for him as a movie star. Frank is virile enough to fight off the mugger, for instance, and he gets flirted with by a truck driver played in a cameo by the superb Melissa Leo. We don’t see something essential in Frank—the push in him that made his children decide that they would rather lie to him than admit that they haven’t lived up to his expectations.
This sounds like I’ve torn the film apart. Actually, I was amused by its essential dignity: the light conversations on a train with a stranger, the rich welcome Rosie gives her traveling father. British director Jones (Waking Ned Devine) is a little myopic when it comes to class in America—blue-collar men don’t necessarily push their children into the arts. Mastroianni’s character in the original film had some cultural pretensions: I had remembered him as a retired professor, having seen the film 19 years ago, but it turns out he was a civil servant with a grand manner.
One cuts holiday movies slack—and Everybody’s Fine makes the sensible choice to wrap the action up around snow, Christmas trees and good old C-9 Christmas lights. We will forgive the film’s open ends when we ponder the family and how it inexplicably grows apart.
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