starring Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Katherine Moennig
written and directed by Kirk Jones
This is a 2009 American re-make of the 1990 Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. Robert DeNiro plays Frank Goode, a recently widowed blue-collar worker who goes on a long cross-country road trip (against his doctor’s advice) to visit his four children scattered around the U.S. after they failed to visit him as promised. It reminded me of the Jack Nicholson movie, About Schmidt (2002, directed by Alexander Payne), when recently retired and widowed insurance adjuster Warren Schmidt decides to drive around the U.S. in his camper to compensate the new feeling of life’s meaninglessness. (Living in Omaha, Nebraskamight account for some of that despair.)
I’m not too thrilled with the bland title, but the heartwarming story is one that tens of millions of middle-class American families can relate to, and DeNiro’s acting is excellent. Frank discovers that his adult children lie to them about their lives. It’s their desire to spare him bad news and only report edited good news. His surprise visits cut both ways as he learns the truth about his children’s lives. The film is spotted with retrieved conversations between each child as a youngster with their father contrasted to their adult situations. It’s very pathetic. But in a good way. It’s a very affective story, a feel good family story.