When widowed Frank Goode (Robert De Niro) receives cancellation calls, one by one, from all of his four children saying that they can’t make it for a family barbecue he had been planning, he decides to set out on an impromptu road trip to give each of them a surprise visit.
His cardiac respiratory problems prevents him from flying, so he is inclined to make this trip on buses and trains. Frank is exceptionally proud of his children; all highflyers in their field, but it is only when he visits each of them that the bigger picture begins to dawn on him. Everybody’s Fine has an ensemble cast of A-listers including Kate Beckinsdale, Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell.
…Robert Di Niro as the vulnerable, yet patriarchal father is the perfect casting choice.
The film does have its fair share of predictability but it is a heart-warming tale about a seemingly functional family. The film is mostly built around Frank more so than the other characters and Robert De Niro as the vulnerable, yet patriarchal father is the perfect casting choice. While it is a refreshing departure from Di Niro’s usual tough guy persona, he still manages to infuse some of that wry sardonic humour in to an ageing widowed man, in the way only he can.
The film’s promising beginning and middle is unfortunately overthrown by an over-dramatic revelation at the end that I felt undid, and even went against, the realistic irony that was very much part of the tone of the narrative and indeed the film’s very title. That aside, it is an unexpectedly moving film, mostly thanks to an unexpectedly moving performance by Robert De Niro.
Everybody’s Fine won’t be the film you talk about for years to come but it has sufficiently enough worth to be talking about around the dinner table this season.
Images courtesy of Everybody’s fine