Every Thing Will Be Fine (NR)

Drama 118 min. December 4, 2015
By Nick Schager
A disheartening case of When Auteurs Go Affected, Every Thing Will Be Fine confirms that Wim Wenders -- making his first dramatic feature since 2008's Palermo Shooting -- is a filmmaker now light-years removed from his Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire heyday. Egregiously airless and artificial, Wenders's latest (written by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen) concerns Tomas (James Franco), a writer whose perpetually blank face suggests existential misery (or is it just sleepiness?).

It's unclear what country, or continent, Tomas lives in, but his unhappy life writing novels and being with girlfriend Sara (Rachel McAdams) is upset when he accidentally runs over the youngest son of a stranger named Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Given Franco's one-scowl-fits-all countenance, however, the degree to which this tragedy moves Tomas is discernible only through dialogue in which his, Sara's, Kate's, and everyone else's emotions are stated in the absolute bluntest of terms.
Not to mention...(sigh)...that those feelings...(grimace)...are expressed in conversations...(sorrowful look to the heavens)...whose prolonged pauses...(gazing off into the distance)...turn the drama laughably pretentious. Every Thing Will Be Fine is torturously slow and hopelessly mannered. Wenders shoots in 3-D — and crafts his compositions as self-conscious showcases. From pans across distant snowy landscapes behind wire fences to shots of his characters spied through doorways, windows, and glass partitions, the director makes his deep-focus imagery a look at the three-dimensionality! gimmick. While Tomas and another boy speak like Americans, the women boast mismatching foreign accents, with poor McAdams saddled in a role that's all wooden articulations of confusion and anger. Artificial in construction and execution, Wenders's nowheresville-set film never lucidly grapples with the issues of grief, guilt, loneliness, and fatherhood ostensibly at the root of its tale.
Wim Wenders James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Peter Stormare, Marie-Josée Croze, Julia Sarah Stone, Robert Naylor, Patrick Bauchau Bjørn Olaf Johannessen Gian-Piero Ringel IFC Films

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