Before Christmas, I questioned Gaspar Noe’s choice to film Love in 3D. While the gimmick of real sex in 3D managed to satisfy my moribid curiousity in a couple of scenes, the feeling that we could reach out and touch them couldn’t change the fact that the characters didn’t act or talk like real people. Love was a dull, lifeless, depressing, and badly translated drama. But it had lots of sex.
Director Wim Wenders (whom I tend to like), also hit the 2015 festival circuit with an inexplicably 3D drama. Like Love, Every Thing Will Be Fine is dull, lifeless, depressing, and badly translated but doesn’t even have the decency to throw a little 3D ejaculate our way. What we DO get- and any Canadians out there might enjoy this- is Rachel McAdams doing a Quebec French accent. Despite the film being set in Montreal, why she would go out of her way to play Quebecoise, I have no idea. There are, after all, lots of English people living in the Canadian city. (I used to be one of them). Whatever her reasons, I’m willing to bet that the Screen Actors Guild did not see this movie or they would have never made the already questionable decision to nominate her for Best Supporting Actress in Spotlight.
Struggling writer Tomas’ (James Franco) relationship with Sara (McAdams) is already not going so great even before his life is changed forever by accidentally running over and killing a small boy with his car. The boy’s mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) immediately makes it clear to Tomas that she doesn’t blame him but forgiving himself isn’t so easy for Tomas, even after he begins to profit from becoming a much more inspired and successful writer after the trauma.
My favourite Wim Wenders films (Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas) are understated and haunting but Every Thing Will Be Fine slows the pace down to a whole new level. Unsure of exactly, what the director’s looking for, Franco plays it safe by avoiding emoting at all costs. Probably aiming for restraint and subtlety (two qualities I admire most in an actor), he succeeds only at being wooden. He’s not burdened with an ill-advised accent but his performance is almost as embarrassing as McAdams’.
Gainsbourg and real-life Montrealer Marie-Josee Croze (The Barbarian Invasions, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) don’t come out looking so bad but even they don’t have anything interesting to do. Wenders seems especially committed to losing our interest by constantly disrupting the narrative to jump ahead a year or two, or sometimes even more, whenever there’s even the smallest risk that someone in the theater may find themselves caring even a tiny bit. And the dialogue from Norwegian screenwriter Bjorn Olaf Johanessen feels badly translated into English and is already being compared to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
I was not able to catch a screening of Every Thing Will Be Fine in 3D so I have no idea exactly what Wenders was going for by shooting in 3D. I do know that I’ve seen 3D summer blockbusters that had more heart than Wenders’ painfully dull drama.