March 9, 2010
1: 12 AM

Everybody’s Fine (2009) – Review

“I am 94. And I keep away from doctors. I have 3 children, 6 grandchildren. They are busy. They are too busy to talk to me. I got to make an appointment. They got lost someplace. They don’t need anybody. People changed. Life’s changed. Today, you shake hands with somebody, you gotta count your fingers to make sure you got your 5 fingers back.”

Call him a cynic or a realist but these are the words of an old man at a bar in the movie. Everybody’s fine is all about the anxiety of a similar old man, who waits for his children to visit him for a holiday. Sadly enough, they don’t turn up, delivering excuses.

As it begins with a breezy song showing Frank Goode (Robert De Niro), a widower, meticulously preparing his home to welcome his children, you’ll fall in love with the movie instantly. Since they don’t turn up, he decides to visit them as a surprise. So, he takes a long trip across the country to meet his four children – Dave, Amy, Rosie and Rob. From there on, it simply flows through like a calm river.

Frank is an old man. He is a father of four. He has worked hard to raise them. He lost his wife recently. Now it is up to him to keep an eye on them, and find out if they are really happy. Maybe the journey is an assurance of his life’s work. That’s what makes this movie so special.

De Niro, with that ever so innocent face, could only make us be drawn into his mind and crawl with that subtle pain all along. The veteran actor has made a beautiful script look exactly so.

“Are you happy?” he asks with an inquisitive look. And you dissolve in empathy.

Everybody’s fine is Hollywood’s remake of the classic Italian venture, Stanno Tutti Bene, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. But what if it was an Italian or an Indian or a German or a Japanese? It’s about human emotions. They transcend boundaries. They transcend time. This film, as it ends, would create an overwhelming silence in your mind. You will lounge back for a moment and realize that.

Wealth of emotions…Experience it.

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