Everybody's Fine, directed by Kirk Jones and starring Robert De Niro, allows the audience a peek into the life of Frank Goode, a retired blue-collar kinda guy who has suddenly recognized the significant emotional distance that exists within his family.
Just a few months after the death of his wife, Frank finds himself lonely and disillusioned. He travels the country to visit his four children in an attempt to salvage whatever "family" remains. His road trip provides a great opportunity for substance, but the film is too predictable and cliched to deliver.
Everybody's Fine relies on the audience connecting to De Niro in an emotional way for success. It just doesn't happen, and the film falls flat as a result.
The film provided for me, however, a time to reflect on the relationship I have with my father. It's fair to say the relationship has been strained over the years; despite no smoking gun reason for that strain, personality quirks and disagreements over issues important to both of us has created an emotional distance. My father, an emotionally distant man who seems to seek out and enjoy isolation, hasn't been able to meet my desire to spend more time together and get to know each other as adults. I'm too stubborn to accept his personality as is, and often avoid interaction with him unless I sense he's making a significant compromise.
Our relationship is a lot like that of Frank Goode and his son. Perhaps we need a Hollywood script writer to plot out the final act for us.