This is a capsule review. A full review will be posted closer to release.
Boiling down a poetic filmmaker’s latest work to just the plot is a reductive exercise (Tree of Life: “Everything happens”), but when the grand finale to a two-hour journey is a self-absorbed bore working up the courage to give a hug, that poetry better be damn amazing. Though Every Thing Will Be Fine has much of the lyricism expected from German director Wim Wenders, inert plotting and performances shroud much of that beauty in a mopey fog.
James Franco plays Tomas, a man forced to reckon with the aftermath of accidentally killing a child in a traffic collision. Though not at fault, the incident weighs heavily on Tomas over the course of a decade. Devoid of any defining characteristics outside of being a writer, Tomas provides a flat emotional center for the story, even before putting a detached Franco in the role. Every Thing Will Be Fine asks Tomas to change vehicles more often than it does Franco change his facial expression. Meanwhile, Charlotte Gainsbourg, as the dead boy’s mother, spends her screen time looking bereaved and drawing pretty pictures of droopy sunflowers (it’s like she can see the spirit of the film she’s in).
Shooting in Montreal across multiple seasons, Wenders does get in a number of stunning compositions. A favored hue of rose gold lighting does better by the performers than Bjørn Olaf Johannessen’s leaden dialogue (Rachel McAdams, as Thomas’ girlfriend, has the added strain of an unwieldy Québécois accent). Every Thing Will Be Fine covers long stretches of time at a consistently lifeless pace, the glory shots spaced out by needlessly protracted scenes that end abruptly in fades to black. Perhaps slowing down these transitions risked subconsciously telling you that it’s okay to embrace the gradual shutting of your eyelids.
Every Thing Will Be Fine is a title meant to put you at ease, but a movie that’ll likely put you to sleep.