The long pause Spalding Gray gives us after his comment on how he feels “half dead” gives just as much an insight into his mindset as his extensive work in monologuing does. Documented in Gray’s own words, director Steven Soderbergh brings us And Everything is Going Fine; a documentary that allows its subject to detail his entire life story through clips, monologues and long-lost interviews that document the late Spalding Gray.
His work hasn’t really been profiled or discussed outside of cult circles. Gray as a figure is someone I was unfamiliar with before watching this piece, and it seems like quite the dive to watch a documentary on someone I know quite literally nothing about. Aside from his enjoyable performance in True Stories, I couldn’t tell you a single other fact about his career or project he has worked on. By the end of the feature though, I felt I knew Gray better than the majority of actors I would consider my favourites. He felt more at comfort with my own personal thoughts than that of my biggest idols, Gray’s monologues and the hold he has on life itself through these is impeccable.
For a majority of the film, we’re given extracts from Gray’s live performances. He sits at a wooden table, facing directly into the audience as he talks about his own personal life in both comedic and touching tones. The only trouble with crafting a documentary out of only the work of Gray and found footage is that we don’t get to see the wider impact he had on those that were fans or critics of his work. He certainly has a legacy worth telling, yet we don’t get to discuss it as Gray himself never did. There are no real interviews worth dissecting, nor is there anything lucrative about his personal life. Perhaps that’s for the best though, as Gray seems like a figure more than capable of teaching us about himself.
At the same time, And Everything is Going Fine presents its documentary subject in thoroughly clear detail, yet leaves out such important ideas and questions that it feels more like an appreciation for Gray than a dissection of his life. For those looking to invest in the work of Gray, that’s certainly not a bad thing. His handling of monologues and the inventive and creative dialogue is incredibly well grounded, but strikes well enough to provide an entire film worth of content worth watching. Use it as an introductory tool to one of the greats, you’ll have to research the real details much later down the line.