Saturday, December 5, 2009

Everybody's Fine

The Film: Everybody's Fine

The Faces: Robert NeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell

The Dealio: DeNiro's David is still in mourning for his six months' gone spouse. She was, apparently, one helluva listener, and seemingly, is required to take on a similar silently receptive role posthumously. Witness the many scenes of David speaking to his dead wife as he goes about his day, making his plans. One gets the notion that this is a familiar role for him; he is comfortable getting no reply; he never has before. Only a readily listening ear. It is David who is the talker.
He is a character at once familiar-(unable to connect with his sons and daughters-except in a 'strongly encouraging way to make the most of their gifts')-and exotic (taking such inordinate pride in the work from which he retired-making plastic coating for telephone wires- that he challenges every stranger he meets into a game of 'you have been staring at my work for miles. Can you guess what it was?'). He is also under some sort of medical cloud which has him longing to retranslate every relationship in the family into a fairy-tale style picture of all of them, sitting around a Christmas table. At the same time, his family seems to be devoting its extensive energies into keeping him as far away from them as possible.
Early on, even the most casual observer of human nature will figure out the family history and dynamic, the real nature of the current problems and how this family will deal with it- and each other- ifthe formal sit-down ever becomes fact. But the trip there is full of moments large and small that make you smile at their very ordinary, everyday-ed-ness. The, just as you are getting used to the very ordinary truth of this family, in the next instant, you would be surprised to find yourself find yourself hunting for a tissue and vowing silently to stay closer to your own family, to be more patient and to remember them as younger versions, before time and life took their individual tolls.

The Grading Session: 4.48 pengies out of 5. There was the very cool note of showcasing telephone wires, while hearing the voices of two of David's now-adult children, passing along important messages. There is also a slant on the 'offspring-all-grown-up-in-reality-but-Dad-still sees-them-as-children' device. Both these are mostly good. Some other pieces (like having one of David's eldest, his namesake, and, reportedly 'the one you were hardest on', as an 8 year old telling off his Dad, and then leading the other kids in laughing at him. Uncalled for, a bit hysterical in tone, and this made me feel very beleaguered and angry, myself.

Lessons Learned: Unlike the song 'Fathers and Sons' by Cat Stevens' (back when he was Cat Stevens), it is never too late to make things right, if love is on the line. And, no, you don't really have to go to make things right. Stay. instead, and follow the Beatles' advice instead: we can work it out.
Enough musical philosophy for you today?

1 comment:

  1. 4.48 pengies is really good by your standards. I will plan to see this next weekend if it is still out. Thanks for the great insight into his thoughts and feelings. I am really happy is deceased wife does not answer his questions.