Trailer Review: The ironically titled Everybody’s Fine is a remake of the 1990 Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene directed by Guiseppe Tornatore. The original is a bittersweet charmer of a film packed with plenty of heart and complex emotions, but it remains to be seen whether Kirk Jones’ adaptation will succeed at capturing the refined lyricism of its precursor.
With an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and Sam Rockwell, Everybody’s Fine is a two-generational drama about a suburban father who embarks on a difficult path of self-awareness while trying to reconnect with his four adult children.
In an uncharacteristically subdued role, De Niro plays the mild-mannered Frank Goode, a recent widower and retired telephone-factory worker who has tirelessly strived to give his kids a better life. But now, as adults, Frank’s children all live miles apart and have become too preoccupied with their personal lives to spend much quality time with their dear old dad.
So, after his wife’s death, Frank elects to reach out to his scattered brood of progeny by inviting them to a weekend family get-together. Unfortunately, Frank’s reconciliation plans are foiled when, one by one, all of his children cancel on him without saying why. This is the point when Frank decides to pack his bags and set out on a grand journey across the country to pay a surprise visit to each of his offspring.
Frank’s first stop is New York City to see his son, David, a struggling artist who does not appear to be home. The trailer shows Frank (who is apparently cellphone-less) forlornly sitting on David’s stoop engaged in a little appendage show-and-tell with a prostitute. After New York, Frank travels to Chicago to see his daughter, Amy (Kate Beckinsale), an advertising executive living a picture-perfect life (or so it seems). Next, Frank is Denver-bound to visit his classical musician son, Robert (Sam Rockwell), who turns out not to be the conductor he led his father to believe he was. And finally, Frank finds himself in Sin City, where his most welcoming of children, daughter Rosie (Drew Barrymore), works as a dancer.
Over the course of his expedition, it becomes apparent that Frank’s children have a few secrets about their lives, and presumably David’s whereabouts, that they would rather not disclose to their father, given his health and elevated expectations for each of their accomplishments. The trailer makes a point of highlighting this issue by stressing the recurring presence of the telephone wires that Frank ran for a living, which serve as an ironic visual motif for a family with communication difficulties.
As is evidenced in the trailer, Everybody’s Fine presents plenty of lovely moments for each of the children’s characters to shine. But as charming as Beckinsale, Rockwell, and Barrymore appear to be in their roles, the trailer makes it clear that the film’s main focus is on the evolving patriarch, Frank.
It is refreshing to see De Niro in this tenderly crafted and very relatable role, which will no doubt make every audience member want to reach out to their own father to tell him how much he is loved. Yet, as heartwarming and endearing as the trailer portrays the film to be, it also really hams up the cheese factor. As a result, the trailer imparts the impression that the remake of Everybody’s Fine is going to be far more conventional and predictable than the original and will probably leave the audience wishing for a tic-tac to eradicate the film’s schmaltzy aftertaste.
Check out the trailer for Everybody’s Fine. What do you think?