If you go into “Everybody’s Fine” expecting light, warm-hearted, family fare (as I did), you may be disappointed. If you watch this movie for anybody else but Robert De Niro, you may again be disappointed. This film, which was the unfortunate object of a misleading ad campaign, is a quiet and moving character piece with a wonderful performance by De Niro.
It’s the story of man – Frank Goode – whose wife has just died and, finding himself at a loss for what to do with his time, is looking forward to the family get-together with his four adult children, all of whom call to cancel at the last minute. He can’t understand their transparent excuses for backing out of the reunion, so he decides to have himself an adventure and travel across the country by train, bus or car to visit them.
This is a movie for grown-ups: parents with adult children, or children with aging parents will understand and appreciate the true-to-life portrayal of the relationships that we are born into and the joy, anger and disappointments that accompany them, even into our later years.
This is definitely De Niro’s movie, and while each actor holds their own in his presence, they each have only one major scene. He is the one to see this film for, and knowing that in recent years, many of his fans have been less than thrilled by his acting choices, I can assure you this performance is one worth seeing. It is understated, but entirely riveting.
Perhaps my positive take on this film was prompted by misguided expectations, and I can’t say that it will suit every taste, but if you enjoy great acting, an all-star cast and honest portrayals of family relationships, this movie will feel like time well spent.
Guest critic: Elizabeth McCormick