Flawed but stunning nonetheless - simonconnolly
Once upon a time Robert De Niro was the scariest man in Hollywood. After years of playing fast talking, gun toting and cold hearted gangsters he had gotten himself quite a reputation. So maybe that's why in 1998 he hung up his gun and concentrated on broadening his horizons. Since then he hasn't done anything like what he used to and has concentrated mainly on comedy. Meet the Parents, Shark Tale, Stardust are just some of his comedy performances and they only ones worth a mention. And now he is fortunately doing something in which he can do some comedy but also show off his impressive acting chops. And this is a nice break from the crap he's been in recently.
Everybodys Fine, a remake of Italian film 'Stanno Tutti Bene' is about a lonely widower who sets off on a road trip around America to reconnect with his children who have all pulled out of Christmas at home. It is a sweet set up and despite the undeniable flaws in the film I still thought it was quite enjoyable. In my opinion there were only two big problems with the film. The first was the ending. When it came about it was genuinely heartbreaking but it was still a twist in the plot I saw coming from the first half hour. I mean there are so many ways they could have made it come as a suprise. It was the kind of ending that you see coming so early that you doubt it could be that. And the reason it became so blatantly obvious was due to the characters' constant phone call voiceovers which pretty much hand feeds all the information and spoilers to us. My other problem was another one of the ending scenes in which De Niro talks to his kids (as kids) about their current problems.It was quite simply just bizarre watching De Niro talking to kids about being lesbians, having babies and being on drugs. And it didn't really compliment the rest of the film. This was one of the examples of how the film got a but overly cheesy at times.
Yet the film is generally still enjoyable. It is tragic, sentimental and has a nice, bittersweet charm to it. It is wonderfully directed and the strong imagery perfectly shows the loneliness and alienation of De Niros world. I usually hate remakes and never give show the light of day but this was suprisingly touching and powerful. Kirk Jones did a fantastic job in only his third project as director. He captured it perfectly and although this was a rather difficult film to make he pulled it off with flying colours. Family dramas are a difficult kind of film to make but this is well made, well acted and tragic enough to make it one of the better ones I've ever seen. They are always character driven films and it helps to have a all star cast.
And De Niro himself is superb. His performance is genuinely affecting and the film would quite simply have been much worse if not for his display. It takes an experienced actor to pull off a role like this and De Niro does it wonderfully. His performance defines the film. Awkwardly trying to talk to strangers on the train, attempting to help an grateful homeless man or sharing a joke with a hooker on the street. These are the moments which make the film better and the best thing in these moments was De Niro and his stunning and tender display. The supporting cast all put in strong displays but are outshone by De Niro.
So all in all this film is well worth the watch and this is by far De Niros best performance since he started to show that he can do more than guns, money, women and gangsters. I really didn't expect a lot from this film going in but it was actually a suprisingly impressive film. This was the suprise hit of the year for me. De Niro gives a great display before hitting the violence again (Machete, oh yeah). And director Kirk Jones continues his rather successful career with his best film to date. I would highly recommend this film as despite the flaws in the film I can't see anyone not being affected by the undeniable beauty and tragedy of the film.
Review published on the 15 March 2010 15:58
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content
More uLike Viewer Reviews
Average - jennith
This is a nice film it never realy takes off though as De Niro seems to be only going through the motions,he plays Frank Goode a widower who worked hard and wanted the best for his kids but now he is... MORE
06 July 2010 13:39
Makes you want to talk to your folks - declanh
Despite the fact that the previous review is clearly of different film, I too saw this in Cineworld as part of JDIFF. The posters have DeNiro against a pleasant if not even surreal location - amost... MORE
06 March 2010 03:12
Please give - paula galvin
This film is not due to be released until mid-May but was shown last night at Cineworld as part of the JDIFF so i thought I would get ahead of the posse and be the first to review it!! It is directed... MORE
23 February 2010 00:08