Everybody’s Fine: Movie Review of Guan’s Travel

By Elton Ongjoco

Everybody’s Fine is a Chinese adaptation of the Italian movie with the same name by Guiseppe Tornatore. The Chinese version is directed by Zhang Meng and I haven’t watched any films he directed except this one. I also haven’t watched the original Italian film but this version of the film starring Zhang Guoli is a good but not that good film.

The story is about a widower whose name is Guan Zhiguo, portrayed by Zhang Guoli, traveling to his children throughout China to relive the memories of his deceased wife. The movie shows some typical lifestyle of a Chinese household and some comedic life of a lonely father. It is somewhat artistic that I think will not appeal to the younger audiences, I guess the comedic side will do. Zhang Meng managed to blend the comedic and serious elements of the movie; it has some plain acting maybe because of the indie like vibe of it which is good, for it creates emotion, ironically. It is full of dad jokes then it will become a serious dad talk and most of the movie is serious dad talks.

Guan’s travel story started when his children told him that they will not go to their yearly summer gathering so he planned to surprise them by visiting them in their houses. Guan’s children is scattered along China, there’s one in Tianjin, Hanzhou, Shanghai and Macau.

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Guan (Zhang Guoli) with her daughter Qing (Yao Chen)

When he visited every one of them, they all seem to be lying and most of it is white lies, just not to make him worry. So in the end they gathered altogether having a good time in the festival.

Zhang Guoli acts very natural that even the way he moves and talks, looks and sounded like my dad. By the way he acts, you can see that he is a veteran in Chinese films, though I never seen some films that he has been too. He easily portrayed the character of happy disappointment in a flesh.The other actors and actresses are good and sometimes boring maybe because it is what said to them. They really portrayed different characteristics of different human beings.

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Guan and his family celebrating spring festival or the ending

 

The artistic side of the film was seen in its beautiful shots showing the authentic Chinese household and its hard city life. The cuts were remarkable especially in the scenes where the little version of Guan’s sons and daughters. With the help of the nostalgic and orchestral post-rock music, the film delivers an emotional ride in human’s different experiences and circumstances it is going through.

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