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Film Review: “All My Life” Is a Lifeless Look Into a Real-Life Love Story

Written by: Hannah Tran | December 4th, 2020

Film poster: “All My Life”

All My Life (Marc Meyers, 2020) 1½ out of 4 stars.

Director Marc Meyers’ latest project, All My Life, is the type of movie that feels as if it went straight from GoFundMe page to screen. It has all the trappings of the typical tragic romance scattered throughout the simple story of Jennifer and Solomon, two perfectly ordinary strangers who fall in love and get engaged only for Solomon to receive a terminal cancer diagnosis. But while the story may be sweet enough, the film does little to make a case for its own existence, the vision of the filmmaking lacking artistry and the story lacking meaningful specificity.

While All My Life may be based on a true story, the way it’s presented never feels nearly as interesting as real life. The characters within it are reduced to overly simple stereotypes that fail to align with real-life behavior. And although the story is meant to showcase the power of love shared between two ordinary people, it’s as if the film strives to be unremarkable. Their love story is the only substance the film has to offer, and it feels as if it’s an endless string of sappy and clichéd postcard images that harbor no specific connection to their tale in particular.

l-r: Harry Shum Jr. and Jessica Rothe in ALL MY LIFE ©Universal Pictures

Romantic leads Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day) and Harry Shum Jr. (Crazy Rich Asians) do have a watchable chemistry, however, even if it sometimes feels heavy-handed. The character of the latter is unfortunately much better developed than the former, despite her being the clear protagonist. Yet the most obvious problem with their characters is that neither of them have any discernible flaws. While they both deal with individual suffering in frustrating ways, the writing is too afraid to understand their weaknesses and, therefore, understand their characters.

They both react precisely the way you would expect them to. The instincts of the writing are heavily informed by the countless other films of this ilk that have come before, but without any of their personality. The shot choices are similarly predictable and lack the connection to the characters necessary to make their overly conventional approach have an impact. All My Life belongs to a certain category of movie that continues to be enjoyed by a certain subset of moviegoer. But while this one has all the plot points of those other saccharine romps, it fails to have an ounce of uniqueness to justify its existence among them.

l-r: Harry Shum Jr. and Jessica Rothe in ALL MY LIFE ©Universal Pictures

Hannah Tran is a film critic and filmmaker from Las Vegas, Nevada. Hannah works as a film screener for the Las Vegas Film Festival and publishes an independent zine focused on highlighing Asian American filmmaking.

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