Saturday, December 5, 2009

Everybody's fine

Eight months after his wife's death, a widower's grown children suddenly cancel a visit to him that weekend. He decides on a whim to take a road trip to reconnect with each of his four kids, discovering that their lives are far from perfect.[1] After visiting his physician and being warned about his health, Frank Goode (De Niro) takes a train to New York, where he sits on his son David's doorstep. David never shows up, but Frank sees one of David's paintings in a nearby art gallery window. He slips an envelope under David's door.

Next visit is to daughter Amy, who says it's a bad time to visit. Frank plays a little golf with grandson Jack, but dinner is uncomfortable with tension between Jack and his father. The next morning, Frank accompanies Amy to her fancy office and hears her agency's pitch for a TV ad. She takes him to the bus station to visit Robert.

Between visits to each child, as Frank travels the audience overhears phone conversations between the siblings. David is in some type of trouble in Mexico, and Rosie is going there to find out what is happening; the sisters and Robert agree to not tell their father about David until they know for sure.

Frank arrives in Denver expecting to see Robert conduct the orchestra. It turns out Robert is "only" a percussionist. He also says Frank's visit is at a bad time, so within hours Frank takes a bus to Las Vegas to visit Rosie. Frank is adamant that each visit is a surprise, but Robert calls Rosie to warn her.

Frank is attacked by a mugger who destroys Frank's prescription pills. Frank manages to escape and scrapes up some of the crushed pills, but when he calls the doctor back home for a prescription refill, he doesn't tell the doctor that he is hundreds of miles from home, traveling against doctor's advice. He has a dream that his son David is in jail.

He arrives in Las Vegas late. Rosie picks him up in a stretch limo and tells him she was in a big show that just ended the previous week. She takes him to her fancy apartment, where her friend brings over a baby for last-minute babysitting. Frank overhears a message being left on an answering machine, indicating the apartment is borrowed from Rosie's friend. He is not comfortable, knowing all his kids are lying to him.

Frank flies back home but — without his pills — he has a heart attack in the lavatory. Frank has another dream of his kids as young children; in the dream, he knows Amy's husband has left for another woman and Rosie's friend's baby is really Rosie's baby. The kids and their mother always kept the unpleasant truth from Frank. While Frank thought he was encouraging his kids, they thought he was pressuring them and would be disappointed in how their lives really turned out. Next scene is in the hospital, where he wakes up in bed with Amy, Robert, and Rosie standing there. They tell him David is dead.

Frank goes back to New York to buy David's painting but it has already been sold; the gallery sells him another painting by David that is more appropriate to him — a landscape showing PVC-covered power lines (Frank made PVC-covered cable for years). He visits his wife's grave and talks to her. The last scene is Frank making the turkey at Christmas together with all his kids and grandkids. This time, it's Frank who finally confesses an unpleasant truth: in 41 years of marriage, he never told his wife that she always overcoked the turkey.

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