Written by Bjorn Olaf Johannessen / Directed by Wim Wenders / Starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams
Dad: All you give me are platitudes.
I confess; I have hated every Wim Wenders non-fiction movie I’ve had the misfortune of sitting through. There, I said it. Arty and pretentious, they only appeal to hipsters swigging lattes at indie owned coffeehouses and Eurocentric cinema snobs swigging lattes in Cannes. But after being overwhelmed by his excellent documentary, THE SALT OF THE EARTH, I wanted to give the auteur another chance. Plus, if truth be told, I happen to like James Franco, so I optimistically trundled off to see EVERY THING WILL BE FINE. Unfortunately, I should have trusted my initial instincts because everything is most certainly not fine.
Set in Montreal and its surrounding areas, the movie opens tragically when angst ridden author, Tomas, while driving in the snow, accidentally kills a young boy. Whereas the child’s mother Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg) forgives Tomas (a very moody but watchable Franco), he cannot forgive himself and we sit there watching a movie than spans twelve years, in which Franco never visibly ages (note to Wim: watch BOYHOOD, people actually DO look older twelve years after an event) waiting for that moment when all is finally right with his world. Until we get to that point, there’s a botched suicide attempt, an unlikeable first girlfriend who chides him for not being good at suicide (Rachel McAdam speaking in a most inauthentic Quebecois accent), a sympathetic and encouraging editor (Peter Stormare), a successful writing career, a second girlfriend with a precocious young daughter who chides him for dealing calmly in a crisis situation (Marie-Josee Croze) and the ultimate confrontation between Tomas and the dead boy’s now older brother.
For my third confession, I actually don’t mind watching bad movies. Movies never start off with the intentions of being bad and it’s fun to watch them fall off the rails and see where, how and why they fail. What I can’t stand are pointless movies. EVERY THING WILL BE FINE should be required viewing for anyone wanting a career in movie making, followed by a test for which they have to answer the following questions:
- Why film a movie in 3D when you have no intention of utilizing its effects to your advantage?
- Why hire an actress that so personifies Anglo features that she makes Queen Elizabeth look positively Third World and saddle her with an accent that she can’t muster, let alone master?
- Why get an actress of Gainsbourg’s calibre and only have her character read books, paint pictures, spew off new age homilies and stare wistfully into space as if dreaming of starring in the next Lars Von Trier movie?
- Why evoke the spirit of a Hitchcock twist by carbon copying the vibe of the soundtrack of VERTIGO when the only suspense your movie generates comes from a ferris wheel?
And so I will now go back to my initial stance, in which I continue to avoid all Wenders narrative films.