2010 // USA // Steven Soderbergh // November 13, 2011 // Theatrical Print (Hi-Pointe Theater)
The Steven Soderbergh that crafted this affectionate, sweeping, but necessarily piecemeal portrait of monologist Spalding Gray is plainly the defiant, infatuated chameleon-auteur of Bubble, Che, and The Girlfriend Experience. However, And Everything Is Going Fine is anything but a vanity project, given that Soderbergh so thoroughly surrenders the film to the wry confessional voice of his subject. Assembled entirely from footage of Gray's performances and interviews (and the occasional home movie), the film functions as a CliffsNotes version of the troubled man's life, presented roughly chronologically and in his own words. Call it a posthumous highlights reel complement to Soderbergh's 1996 Gray's Anatomy performance film. The director breezily tours the myriad topics that occupied Gray's monologues, although fear, sex, family unmistakably dominated the man's thoughts. Perhaps necessarily given its scope, the film emphasizes Gray's struggles with manic depression, and the pivotal role his mother's own mental illness and suicide had on his life and art. While there's nothing especially revelatory in Soderbergh's treatment of the man, the tone of the film is plainly one of admiration and remembrance, and his method--surrendering the content, if not the shape, entirely to his subject--is eminently fitting.