ALONE ON STAGE The self-absorbed Spalding Gray.
"Maybe I should just tell you some of the facts as I remember them," the late, acclaimed monologist and actor Spalding Gray says early on in Steven Soderbergh's documentary collage, And Everything is Going Fine. This was Gray's modus operandi, told in his trademark fashion: with a wink and a note of genuine candor. Soderbergh's film can't reveal the man anymore than the digressive, almost fearlessly forthright writer and performer already did himself; Gray was in some ways a product of the self-absorbed culture of reality television before such a thing existed.
What the film does do, though, is give that life an exciting, rambunctious sort of order. As Gray (no relation to me) relays his past through bits of his most famous monologues, home videos, and televised interviews, Soderbergh and his editor (Susan Littenberg) make the film a sort of commentary on Gray's own meta-commentary. The information is chronological, but Gray gets upwards of 20 years older or younger by the cut; the effect is that of an audacious young man in conversation with his older and (hopefully) wiser self. But rather than seeming an endless exercise in solipsism, Soderbergh's approach (quite reminiscent of his work in the great 1999 revenge tale, The Limey) reveals Gray's restless humanity. Usually found alone, on a stage, at a spare wooden table, Gray discussed what haunted him because he knew we'd find comfort in his deeply familiar questions. Though his 2004 suicide goes unnoted here, it lends a bitter sadness to the proceedings.
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE | at SPACE Gallery, in Portland | Feb 7 @ 7 PM
, Movies, Steven Soderbergh, documentary, More