AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE
When you name your child Spalding Gray you might as well drive straight from the maternity ward to the theatre because you have sealed his fate. A Spalding Gray cannot remain unknown; he will not settle for unfamous, uncelebrated or unreknowned. Of course, in this case the kid lived up the name and became one of the most sought after, most admired and best loved writers and performers of the century, if not of all time. Yeah, you could say I’m a fan.
As a fan, I dutifully went to see Steven Soderbergh’s AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE, a look at some of Gray’s monologues cut with interviews he gave throughout his life up until just before his death in 2004. Soderbergh met Gray in the early 90s when he cast him for KING OF THE HILL, a decision based solely on reading one of his books. They worked together a few years later on GRAY’S ANATOMY, one of Gray’s best known monologues. Even though he worked with other famous directors (Jonathan Demme directed the mind blowingly amazing SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA in 1987), it was Soderbergh who ultimately chose to honor his friend and colleague with a documentary/eulogy.
AND EVERYTHING is not a biopic. It doesn’t begin with black and white baby pictures and end with his suicide and there isn’t any candid home video footage. Rather, it shows him in his true element, on stage, where he was most at home and at his best. Even though the clips that Soderbergh chose are woven together with only a very loose chronological thread, and even though they’re shown without any indication as to the year or the name of the monologue on screen, the film gives insight into Gray’s troubled personal life and relationships and his inability to effectively deal with his problems. In a sense, it gives us all the clues that foreshadow what was to come while also showing him in his strongest moments as a thinker, writer, dreamer and lightning-fast talker.