Frank Goode, a widower and a retiree, is having his children for dinner. He cleans the house and goes to the store to buy good steak and some bottles of expensive wine. He is excited. He tells everyone the family is having a reunion. That night, however, his children (who are no longer children and are very busy with their lives and careers) call to say that they will have to cancel. Frank is disappointed, but he comes up with a plan: if the children can’t come to him, he’ll come to his children. He packs clothes, a camera, and his lung medication, and goes on a road trip.
This film just got to me. I’ve seen it thrice. The first time, I saw a small part of it on Star Movies, that scene where Frank is on a train and a woman named Alice says he is lucky to have avoided the storm. Frank says, “I am always lucky”, with a smile so content it just breaks your heart.
Robert De Niro is amazing here. Amazing. I’m used to seeing him play tough characters – the (ex) CIA agent, the mob boss, the powerful businessman that you just don’t cross – but he embodies Frank Goode perfectly. Frank, who is no CIA, mob boss, or businessman, who is sad and weary and clueless of his grown children’s lives but proud enough to show their pictures to strangers, who is like most fathers.