Lots based on real life by Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter, “My whole life“Is burdened with an almost impossible challenge of avoiding the balance between honoring the themes on which the film is based and avoiding the mundane emotional manipulations that often affect this particular romantic subgenre. The film is only marginally successful. The film is based on both the real story that is being told – we see footage of their wedding through the credits – and any other tear-causing romance in which the couple in question faces unexpected illness and loss. The film, however, is a mess of clichés sprinkled with a touch of personality.
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The real story it is inspired by leaves us far behind the capabilities of the film itself. This little success is more evidence of the devastation of a young couple faced with impossible opportunities than a compliment to filmmaking. “All My Life” isn’t very good, but the emotional heart of the story is undeniable.
We meet Solomon first (Harry Shum Jr.) and Jennifer (Jessica Rothe) in a crowded, sunken bar where they quickly fall into witty and precise jokes while trying to charm the other. We then jump to their first date, where we jog in a park and eat zucchini pieces. From there, we’re told it’s love at first sight as the film speeds up quickly and races through the big moments that defined their love story. Friendship groups merge, Solomon finds solace in the work through a connection from Jennifer, a song and dance suggestion straight from a fairy tale shows her bombastic love – we draw a portrait of a perfect couple. They are beautiful and intelligent and loved by everyone in their circle, and most importantly, we are endlessly told that their love is true. It’s a shame we don’t get any more chances to explore each character separately from the other instead of being guided by the fact that the film’s focus is so heavily on them as a couple rather than individual and fully educated people.
“All My Life” is an easy to predict movie. We know that their initial happiness will be interrupted by a health scare and the situation will get worse and worse. We know there will be a declarative moment where love will triumph and there will be a low point where everything the couple has built will be threatened. Where director Marc Meyers (“My friend Dahmer”) Stuck in its inability to bring some freshness to the table and relies too much on the characters’ inherent sympathy to provide substance. The protagonists and their story have a vitality that the film itself can never keep up with.
If an otherwise monotonous story is a beacon of hope, it is the charismatic performances of the leads Rothe and Shum. After her work in the “Happy death anniversary“Films, but here it shows a welcome vulnerability and a gift to unconventional humor. She and Shum share a tangible, lived chemistry and very often have to do all the heavy lifting of the film. The sincerity lies in what they bring to the characters and how they honor the two who inspired the story rather than the script of Todd Rosenberg it is as sterile as it is overloaded; The script wants to hit any moment, sacrificing the interludes that Solomon and Jennifer would make human without the help of Shum and Rothe. The proposal, the big holiday get-together and the wedding are all present and we understand why these “big ones” would get their moments to shine, but in the end it feels too much like a highlight role than a full story embodied.
In Jenn’s voice-over, she mentions that life shouldn’t be lived later, which suggests we should take our own and live in the moment. It’s a strong feeling in a bittersweet story that, for all its flaws, still effectively engages the audience and makes them commit to the couple. Apart from that, like all declarative moments in the film, this idea creates space without actually filling it. The film aims to evoke overwhelming emotions and inspire us to live as it could be our last today. However, despite Shum and Rothe’s best efforts, it’s just hot air. The movie wants to be a lot of things, but the talent behind the scenes isn’t suited for the job. [C-]