Oscar-nominated for “Salt of the Earth,” Wim Wenders returns to 3D for his long-awaited redemption drama “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” starring James Franco as a writer in a decade-long emotional tailspin after a tragic hit-and-run accident pulls him into the lives of a single mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her young son. The film co-stars Rachel McAdams and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Wenders is also receiving Berlin’s honorary Golden Bear– but does his latest live up to par? Not so far. Early reviews, and Berlinale press conference video, rounded up below.
“‘We can only try to believe that there’s meaning to this,’ murmurs Charlotte Gainsbourg midway through ‘Every Thing Will Be Fine’ — voicing viewers’ thoughts for the first and only time in Wim Wenders’ labored, lumbering melodrama. An inglorious return to narrative filmmaking for the German master, this protracted study in grief and forgiveness does little to suggest his time hasn’t been better spent making documentaries for the past seven years. Imprisoning James Franco in the role of an emotionally constipated writer taking 10 years to process a fatal car accident, ‘Fine’ is unlikely to arouse much empathy from auds, who may instead spend most of the running time wondering why Wenders chose to dramatize these dingy proceedings in advanced 3D. Despite this arthouse novelty and a name cast, the conviction of the title will not be echoed by’s conviction.”
“It’s not that Wenders’ aptitude for the technology is entirely invisible here: He and ace d.p. Benoit Debie play striking games here and there with planes and perspective, often layering action within a single frame via glass reflections. Such occasional intricacy of technique, however, serves only to further distance viewers from these dully aloof characters and their vaguely articulated problems.”
“But even underwritten or oddly accented (not sure why McAdams had to speak in anything but her normal voice), the performances are decent, as they should be because no one’s really being asked to play too far outside their wheelhouse. Franco’s half-lidded somnolence actually suits Tomas’ intellectual, life-of-the-mind remove, while Gainsbourg wears grief as naturally as McAdams wears subtle, supportive disappointment. And late on the film starts to take some mildly interesting turns with Christopher’s reappearance. But it’s just too late as by then enervation has set in and the 3D glasses are weighing heavy on the nose.”
“Technically, ‘Every Thing Will Be Fine’ makes for fascinating viewing as Wenders consolidates the visual steps made by Pina. Commercially, it’s unlikely to be quite so compelling, outside niche festival slots and of course at home in Germany, where Wenders is revered. This is James Franco’s film, with the actor playing a melancholic writer who glides slowly – almost ghost-like – through traumatic events. Captured throughout in tight 3D close-up, he’s still, drained, exhausted.”