Every Thing Will Be Fine

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Every Thing Will Be Fine Movie Poster Image
Angst-filled drama is surprisingly dull and uninteresting.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 118 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Tragedy is random and unavoidable, and overcoming it can be slow, painful, and all-consuming. Positive message about how creativity can flourish after grief.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tomas is a good stepfather to Mina. He cares about Kate and never forgets about his connection to her and what happened when his life intersected with hers.

Violence

A child dies in a car accident. Another child is trapped in a freak accident at a fair.

Sex

Embracing, kissing between adults.

Language

Occasional use of words including "s--t" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man smokes marijuana a few times. Christopher has a beer with Tomas; it's unclear whether he's of age yet. A character seems to want to drink himself to death.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Every Thing Will Be Fine is a relationship drama that stars well-known actors James Franco and Rachel McAdams but is unlikely to appeal to younger audiences. The movie not only revolves around a heavy theme -- the death of an unknown child in a car accident -- but it's contemplative and plays out across many years in a way that most teens will likely find tedious. There's quite a bit of substance use -- to the point of a character's suicide attempt -- as well as some drinking by a not-quite-legal-adult. There's also a scary moment when someone is trapped during a freak accident at a local fair. Families who do see the film together may want to discuss healthy and unhealthy ways to handle grief and tragedy. 

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What's the story?

EVERY THING WILL BE FINE follows Tomas (James Franco), an aspiring writer whose life is irrevocably changed one winter day after he accidentally strikes two young brothers who are sledding, and only one of the boys survives. Tomas, who was out driving that day after a disagreement with his then-girlfriend, Sara (Rachel McAdams), breaks things off with her. Eventually, he writes a best-seller and enters a serious relationship with grounded single mother Ann (Marie-Josee Croze), a literary editor at Tomas' publishing house -- but he never forgets the accident and even checks in on the grieving mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who lost her son under his car. More than a decade after the accident, the surviving son, Christopher (Robert Naylor), now a mature teen, begins to stalk Tomas in hopes of connecting with the man who showed him such compassion, even while being responsible for his brother's death.

Is it any good?

Wim Wenders' forgettable drama features a robotic lead performance by Franco, who looks as utterly bored by the material as the audience will be throughout this misguided, disappointing film. There's barely a scene when Tomas looks animated by anything -- grief, anger, love, resignation, happiness. We know what he's supposed to be feeling, but Franco just misses conveying it, either because the writing is off or because his performance is so wooden that he couldn't bother to properly emote -- something we all know he can actually do (when he wants to).

The trio of female supporting characters don't get off much better, because they don't have much to do. McAdams affects a strange, unidentifiable accent as Sara, Tomas' initial girlfriend. Gainsbourg once again plays a grieving mother who's hollowed out by her grief. And Croze's Ann knows something is going on with Tomas, but she's also thrilled to have a stepfather for Mina, her daughter. Unfortunately, Wenders doesn't manage to coax a single outstanding performance from a fine cast. Not only does this drama drag on at two minutes shy of two hours, but it doesn't have much to say, either. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kind of violence in Every Thing Will Be Fine. Does violence that's not overtly depicted still have an impact?

  • How does the central tragedy affect Tomas, Christopher, and Kate differently? Is that believable?

  • Discuss the ways the three women -- Sara, Kate, and Ann -- operate in Tomas' life. What do they symbolize?

  • How is substance use/abuse depicted here? Are there realistic consequences?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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