Every Thing Will Be Fine
Director: Wim Wenders
Writer: Bjørn Olaf Johannessen
Cast: James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marie-Josée Croze, Peter Stormare, Patrick Bauchau, Julia Sarah Stone, Robert Naylor
Seen on: 9.4.2015
Tomas (James Franco) is trying to write his newest book. That attempt includes staying in a trailer on a frozen lake and hours of driving around the countryside, leading to more than one fight with his girlfriend Sara (Rachel McAdams). On one of his drives, Tomas hits and kills a little boy, which leaves both him and the boy’s mother Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother Christopher (Jack Fulton/Philippe Vanasse-Paquet/Robert Naylor) reeling. Will every thing ever be fine for them again?
Every Thing Will Be Fine is a calm, beautiful movie that manages to be completely intimate, despite spanning several years and some rather difficult topics. I really loved it.
When I say that it is a beautiful film, I mean both aesthetically and regarding content. The cinematography, set to the wonderful Desplat soundtrack, is great, even achieving a feeling of realistic 3D that works so much better because it actually isn’t (I saw it in 2D), but mostly the light work is the best part of the look of the film. [And talking about looks: James Franco in those sweaters is also a sight to behold.]
But the story itself is also a thing of beauty: it approaches the topic of guilt and grief in a fragile, vulnerable and sensitive way that is much more sure and certain than it appears at first glance. It comes from a wise place, and I don’t use that term lightly (in fact I usually scoff at attempts at being wise, so my unironic use of that word is a rare occurence), precisely because it doesn’t try to be wise, it just tries to understand Tomas.
It’s not absolutely perfect. Focusing on Tomas and his pain instead of Kate and/or Christopher is a choice that can be called into question (yet another story about yet another white, middle to upper class man who has a hard life, making everybody else, especially the women, supporting characters), but if you accept that, it is extremely well handled. In a sense, it becomes a coming of age story for and of Tomas, who is a great character. Unlikeable and a narcissistic asshole at times, but he also grows a lot in the course of the film and he does have a bunch of redeeming qualities.
Franco breathes life into the role and carries Thomas through the years with a depth and calmness that grounds the entire film. The rest of the cast is far from bad as well, but their characters play such a subordinate role that it is hard for them to step out of the Franco/Tomas-shadow. Only Rachel McAdams really manages to do that.
There is a very particular atmosphere to the film, and it is one that is transfered to the audience and that stays there until well after the credits roll. For that alone it is worth to see.