DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE (director: Steven Soderbergh; editor: Susan Littenberg; music: Forrest Gray; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Amy Hobby/Kathleen Russo/Joshua Blum; IFC Films; 2010)

 
"Absorbing documentary on the career of actor, storyteller, and performance artist, Spalding Gray."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

Steven Soderbergh ("Bubble"/"Traffic"/"The Girlfriend Experience") directs this absorbing documentary on the career of actor, storyteller, and performance artist, Spalding Gray. It follows Spalding from his childhood in Rhode Island, raised by working-class parents, to his later fame as an actor and his unique introspective confessional act as a monologist. The film includes wall-to-wall footage, home movies and clips of Spalding performing on stage, and thankfully no talking heads to try and explain Spalding's creative tortured soul.

Spalding revealed in public intimate secrets about himself, his family and loved ones. Using the suicide of his mentally tortured 52-year-old mother as part of his act, which upset some of his family members. He also told about sexual experiments in his early life with both men and woman. When Spalding discovered experimental theater, he found the right outlet for his creativity to blossom and never looked back at doing anything else.

The last clip shows a low-energy Spalding as an aging family man performing in a Long Island museum setting after he was severely injured in an auto accident in Ireland. Shortly afterwards, in January of 2004, at the age of 62, a pained Spalding took his own life by jumping from the Staten Island Ferry.

Soderbergh has the good sense to let the articulate Spalding tell his own story, in his own words. The doc celebrates the artist's good humor, his curiosity about life and his lust for living. For Spalding's fans, this is a must see.  

REVIEWED ON 12/16/2010       GRADE: A-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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