Everybody’s Fine (Kirk Jones, 2009): USA

Reviewed by Dru Radovich. Viewed at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 2009 AFI Film Festival.

Everybody’s Fine, a touching holiday flick, is powerful enough to actually bring  families together.

Everybody’s Fine is the story of a widowed father and his journey to bring his family back together. He plans a reunion for the holidays and his hope of a family gathering is quickly shattered when all of his children cancel last minute. His determination does not stop there as he sets out to surprise visit each child; he realizes that none of his family is “fine.”  The plot appeared at first to be a little predictable but surprisingly evolved into an intense emotional journey of changing relationships.

Director Kirk Jones finds a way to capture each type of person and diversity: the unhappy wife, the drug addict son, the lesbian daughter, and Robert D eNiro, the father, comes to terms with all of their differences. We see De Niro grow as a fatherwho becomes heavily involved with raising his children on screen and we know that passing judgements, , is not the answer to patch his family back together.

It is always a risk to shoot a film with such a high profile cast but this ensemble seemed to bring out the best in each other.  At the world premiere, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and Robert De Niro, all introduced the film as a family. It seems that in making this film the actors grew as well. Viewers are in for a rude awakening if they think they are entering this film and coming out of it without having their views on family changed in some way. This is not the typical holiday movie.

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