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Everybody's Fine**
Director: Kirk Jones
Starring: Robert Deniro, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale
Tagline: Frank wanted the holidays to be picture perfect. What he got was family.


The tagline gives the impression that you're in for a feel good movie: a little comedy, a few hysterics but all in all good fun. In reality it's a drama, and it's obvious that with a movie titled Everybody's Fine, nothing, in actuality, will be fine.

Frank Goode (Robert Deniro) is a man whose wife has recently passed away and with four grown children he feels it's up to him to keep the family together. When one by one his children back out of a weekend together he takes it upon himself to go visit them. This leads to a cross-country journey for Frank and being the senior citizen that he is, he has a wondrous joy about heading out on his own. He feels a sense of loss since his wife died and the need to talk and reconnect with people is in itself an adventure. The start of his journey sees him talking to all and sundry he meets, about his trip to see his kids and the pride he feels is undeniable. Frank sets about his jaunt whilst a hurricane is nipping at his heels. The hurricane is an all too obvious metaphor for the cracks that have started appearing in his picture-perfect children's lives.

With an ensemble cast of Hollywood heavyweights Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale it's a surprise this movie was just a drop in the Hollywood bucket and so remained under the radar. It comes to mind that it was thought to be an Oscar-worthy movie during it's pre-production, but only big names are not enough to be worthy of contention. Without a doubt the characters are portrayed subtly and genuinely by Deniro, Barrymore, Rockwell and Beckinsale but that's a given when you have such strong actors. It's also a given that good actors, big budgets or special effects are never enough to save a movie which doesn't have a compelling story. The long drawn out beginning does nothing to establish the characters or to build momentum to the story causing you to lose interest.

This movie was released during the holidays yet there is a sense of despair throughout the film making it not even a second or tenth choice for the festive winter season. You really might just pick it up for its multi-star cast and the disappointment once you tuck into this movie is not short-lived.

If you're out for a story which will make you appreciate your parents more, then Everybody's Fine will be a good idea since this plays along the same vein as Amitabh and Hema's Baghban, but in a more subtle manner. When our problems are upon us we feel that we're alone and all the world is worry-free and careless - but the truth is that we all want a happy ending in life and, in this case, especially in our movies. In a time of recession and in turn depression the thought of sitting down to bring to light some of your own mistakes in life might not be such a good idea.

– Kiran Haroon