According to German director Wim Wenders, "Landscape is never only landscape. It's also a state of mind? it has soul and then it evokes and reflects who we are." That state of mind is revealed in the chilly winter portraits of rural Quebec in Wenders' latest film Everything Will Be Fine, his first fictional feature in almost ten years. Shot in 3-D by Belgian cinematographer Benoît Debie, the film stars James Franco as Tomas Eldan, a successful novelist who is fairly comfortable but whose relationships are not nurturing, especially that with his girlfriend Sara (Rachel McAdams).
Tomas' life is permanently changed, however, when an auto accident on a snowy road causes the death of a young boy and leaves the boy's brother Christopher (Jack Fulton and Philippe Vanasse-Paquet as a twelve-year-old) emotionally scarred and unable to give and receive love. suppressing outward expressions of grief, neither Tomas, Christopher, nor Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Chris' mother, are able to achieve any release, especially Tomas who carries his unexpressed guilt around with him wherever he goes, like a chain around his neck.
Though Kate, an accomplished illustrator, is forgiving, telling him repeatedly that the accident was not his fault, he internalizes his guilt and makes a half-hearted suicide attempt much to the consternation of his overbearing father (Patrick Bauchau). Franco delivers a sensitive performance as the conflicted author who is able to channel his suppressed emotions into his writing which become stronger and lead to long-awaited public recognition.
As Tomas' career blossoms, he marries Ann (Marie-Josée Croze), a woman with a young daughter, allowing him to become a father for the first time. As told in a series of flash-forwards, Tomas develops a close friendship with Kate but his relationships with Sara and Christopher (Thomas Naylor as an adolescent) build towards a series of confrontations in which long held resentments explode. Written by Bjorn Olaf Johannessen and enhanced by the strong original score by Alexandre Desplatt, Every Thing Will Be Fine, though very slow and ponderous at times, is a humane, poetic and physically beautiful film.
3-D is used sparingly but scenes such as children riding on a Ferris wheel at an amusement park and dust particles dancing in the sun create a lovely tone. Though not in the top echelon of Wenders' oeuvre, the film's message of forgiveness and reconciliation stands out, sharply contrasting with the all too prevalent cultural mindset of violence and revenge.