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Blu-ray Review: Everybody’s Fine

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Coming out next week on Blu-ray is 2009’s Everybody’s Fine, a thoughtful family drama starring Robert De Niro.

Based on the Italian film Stanno tutti bene, the film follows widower Frank Goode in his quest to reconnect with his grown children. When all four cancel on a trip home to visit their father, Frank decides to take a road trip and visit each of them on their own turf. Because of his pulmonary fibrosis, air travel is out, so Frank takes buses and other ground transportation to get where he needs to go.

[No planes, but trains, buses, and automobiles help get De Niro on his way.]

In New York City he can’t find his son David, an artist, so he moves on to Chicago, where his daughter Amy (Kate Beckinsale) lives with her family. She seems more than a little hesitant to spend time with him. Something is awry, but he can’t put his finger on what exactly is wrong. With each successive visit he discovers that his kids all have something to conceal. In Denver, his son Robert is part of an orchestra, but not the conductor he told his father about, but as a drummer. His daughter Rosie (Drew Barrymore), a dancer who lives in Las Vegas, seems to be the only one genuinely happy to see him, but even she seems to be keeping a secret from him.

Frank must face the fact that his children may have told their mother about their lives but they don’t seem to know how, or even want, to communicate with him. And where is David? As the film progresses, Frank and the viewer will be able to unravel most of the family’s secrets. The real mystery remains – will Frank ever be able to get closer to his kids?

De Niro is great as the aging patriarch who the more he tries to get closer to his family the farther he gets pushed away. Everybody’s far from fine in this introspective film, but fans of De Niro will enjoy watching him play a role that is such a departure from his usual shoot first, ask questions later tough guys.

Everybody’s Fine looks fantastic on a large-scale high-definition television screen, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The Blu-ray has a running time of approximately 100 minutes. Extras include some deleted and extended scenes and a “making of” video for Paul McCartney’s Golden Globe-nominated song, “(I Want to) Come Home.” The widescreen Blu-ray has DTS surround sound, with crisp-sounding dialogue, and subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish. 

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