Everybodyís Fine
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: -2

Robert DeNiro, Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell. Directed by Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee, Waking Ned).

FILM SYNOPSIS: A retired widower embarks on an impromptu road trip to reconnect with each of his grown children. Quickly he discovers that their lives are far from picture perfect and that he is to blame for some of it. Remake of a 1990 Italian film starring Marcello Mastroianni, the film focuses on a blue-collar worker who pushed his children to be all they could, only to find that they resented the aggressive prodding.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I guess we all have family horror stories, where relatives behave not just badly, but mysteriously towards one another. The irony is that no one really wants to be alienated from kith and kin, we just get caught up in our own problems and busyness. So, when the least irritable situation arises, family members are written off. Everybodyís Fine reminds us to savor relationships and to heal wounds before the last opportunity passes.

While I could have done without the several profane uses of Christís name by the lead, I found this drama to be a powerful parable concerning family acceptance, understanding and love. Itís Oscar time again for DeNiro; Beckinsale and Barrymore are outstanding; director Kirk Jones has made a remarkable and touching film; and audiences will find themselves moved by the scriptís poignant ending.

If you prefer to skip a story that contains objectionable language and themes of lesbianism (read the content section), then you may wish to try the following suggested DVD alternatives.

Trip To Bountiful (1985). Simple but well-told story of discontented widow (Geraldine Page) who decides to make a last pilgrimage to her childhood home. Page won Best Actress for her wonderfully textured performance. The beautiful rendition of "Softly and Tenderly" by Christian performer Cynthia Clawson is worth the rental price. PG (contains a couple of expletives).

The Curse of the Cat People (1944). Forget the studio-demanded title, this is a thriller with gentle moments that touch the soul. B-film producer Val Lewton was forced to take this lurid title and turn it into a horror film. Instead, he injected psychological thrills into the sometimes spooky drama, and then addressed issues of a childís mental care. Itís a moody, atmospheric follow-up to 1942ís Cat People. The story concerns a lonely little girl, perfectly played by Ann Carter, seeking friendship from what turns out not to be a make-believe angel. Contains some scary moments, but it is also a moving fantasy.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Miramax

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Toward the beginning of the film, the lead gets frustrated playing golf with his grandson and swears, using the f- and s-words several times, apologizing to the boy as he does.
Profanity: Five or six misuses of Christís name from the patriarch; this plus the fact grace is not spoken at a family holiday feast, indicating that religion doesnít play a part in this manís life.
Violence: While trying to help a homeless man, a scuffle breaks out between the humanitarian and the spaced-out transient.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: A daughter has had a child out of wedlock, but has also embraced lesbianism; while we see her girlfriend, there are no sexual situations.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: We learn that a troubled youth has died of an overdose.
Other: None
Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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