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An unexpected gem

'Everybody's Fine' is yet another movie that I'd never heard of before coming across it on Netflix -- and even then, it didn't catch my attention right away. The first few times I scrolled past the film, I didn't bother to even read the plot summary, much less hit "play" (the movie's title seemed kind of generic; and while I wouldn't place any of the cast on my "least favorite actors" list, I don't exactly make a point to follow any of their careers, either).

However, one night I was in the mood for a "traveling"/road trip movie -- and this one seemed to fit the bill, so I decided to give it a try.

I expected something average -- maybe good-yet-forgettable at best (which, incidentally, seemed to be the consensus of most critics about 'Everybody's Fine'; what do critics know, anyway?), but for whatever reason, this little film really worked for me!

Robert DeNiro (an actor I tend to find over-rated) is genuinely great here as Frank -- a recently widowed senior citizen with some fairly significant health problems, whose four grown children are scheduled to visit him one weekend at his home in upstate New York. After all four of his kids back out of the visit, Frank feels disappointed; but he simply decides to visit his children instead (in New York City, Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas). Most of 'Everybody's Fine' centers around Frank's journey, and the secrets and surprises that are uncovered along the way.

The movie isn't perfect (in particular, the final scenes might feel a tiny bit "sentimental"; and why did Frank suddenly begin to narrate when he returned to New York City?). Overall, though, there's a lot to like about 'Everybody's Fine': the performances (this is actually my favorite role of DeNiro's; the supporting actors all give solid performances, as well, including Brendan Sexton III -- who's effective in his very small role since he made me hate him, but does he ALWAYS have to play a thug?); the music (the soundtrack doesn't go overboard, and I liked the songs that are used -- including the Paul McCartney tune at the end, which McCartney wrote specifically for this movie -- as well as the score); and the train scenes (Amtrak is featured prominently, which is an easy way to score points with me!). I can even say that the film made me want to call my parents just to say hello (which I would have and *should* have done, except it was about 3 am when I finished watching).

In time, perhaps I'll lower my rating (maybe I just watched at the right moment); but based on my first viewing, 'Everybody's Fine' was a very pleasant surprise -- possibly the film I've enjoyed most of the ones I've streamed in 2015. As far as I'm concerned, the movie is worthy of a 9/10.

Added by thaskett
4 years ago on 20 February 2015 23:31