Review: And Everything Is Going Fine

Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh chose exactly the right voice to tell the story of Spalding Gray in his new documentary portrait And Everything is Going Fine. It’s that of Gray himself, who forged a distinguished career as a master monologist who mined his own alternately mundane and troubled life for a series of highly acclaimed theater pieces spanning a quarter of a century.


Culled from some 120 hours of footage given to him by Gray’s widow Kathleen Russo, this deeply moving film--which is currently receiving an exclusive theatrical engagement at NYC’s IFC Film Center--represents a final autobiographical commentary by Gray, filled in his typical fashion with a disarming mixture of wry humor and raw emotion.


Lacking contextual narration, it makes no effort at being a comprehensive biography, making no mention of his dramatic suicide in 2004 when he threw himself into icy waters from the Staten Island Ferry.


But the specter of that tragic death haunts the film like a ghost, especially with its mostly previously unseen footage shot after the Ireland automobile accident that left Gray physically impaired and clearly seriously depressed.


Soberbergh, who made the film version of one of Gray’s most popular stage pieces, Gray’s Anatomy, uses a cannily chosen mixture of footage from stage performances from throughout his career (the video/film quality varies wildly); media interviews with the likes of Charlie Rose and MTV; and touching home movie footage, including a wry discussion between Gray and his elderly father.


The film chronicles its subject’s life in roughly chronological fashion, from his upbringing at the hands of a troubled mother who herself committed suicide to his inauspicious beginnings as an actor to his career and life-changing stint with the avant-garde theater company the Wooster Group, where he developed the monologue form that he would continue to refine for the rest of his too brief life.        


IFC Center, 323 Ave. of the Americas. 212-924-7771.