Friday, December 4, 2009
One tradition during this holiday season is family reunion. Most people make extra effort to gather with their families, even sometimes it sets the stage for some drama. Many parents are delighted for their children to return home and they can enjoy their companies and relive relive the old memories. But, what if none of the children show up?
Robert De Niro superbly plays such a heartbroken parent in director Kirk Jones's touching drama "Everybody's Fine" (USA 2009 | 100 min.), a remake of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore's 1990 film "Stanno tutti bene."
Frank Robert De Niro losts his wife recently and gets lonely around the house by himself. He is looking forward to his four grown children's visit for the holiday. Well, one call after another one, he is told that none of them can make it. He decides to take a trip and to give each of them a surprise visit. During the long journey, not only he surprises his children, he is surprised by his children's secrets.
Robert De Niro pitches the perfect note in almost every scene of the film. His character, Frank, is at the center of this sentimental, even poignant at times, story about reconnecting, reconciling, and rediscovering with family members. De Niro brilliantly expresses Frank's frustration—Frank loves his children, but fails to realize the distance between himself and his children, both emotionally and physically.
The film is entertaining and captivating, despite that the second half lacks both energy and humor. It reminds us to tell our own families: "Tell me the bad news as well as the good news from now on," even what we really want to hear is "Everybody's fine."