Review by Sean Boelman
There are some cases in which a film would have been better off not being based on a true story. That couldn’t be more the case than it is with the tear-jerking romance All My Life, a mostly charming movie weighed down by both the genre’s tropes and knowing where the story is inevitably going to end.
The film tells the story of a young couple whose plans to get married are accelerated when one of them receives a life-changing diagnosis. Like a majority of cancer dramas, this script doubles down on the sentimentality at the expense of emotional earnestness, and while that allows it to accomplish what it sets out to do, it prevents it from ever becoming something more.
Additionally, it feels like there is so much more of this story to be told, but by cramming it into an audience-friendly ninety-minute package, writer Todd Rosenberg settles with the familiar beats. It’s a disservice to the message of compassion and giving that the true story has to offer, with an emphasis put on the romance rather than the sacrifices made by them and everyone around them.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the movie is that the character development is so shallow. The male lead is at least given an ambition outside of the romance, pursuing a culinary career, but the female lead doesn’t seem to have a life outside of her relationship. A few random scenes scattered throughout seem to imply that something to this regard was left on the cutting room floor.
That said, the romance aspect of this film is pretty sweet, and that is why a majority of audiences will be watching this anyway. It’s a simple, cute love story, the type of crowd-pleasing movie that doesn’t need a lot of nuance to work. Those looking for something more aren’t those that will want to see this movie in the first place.
The chemistry between the two stars is fine, but nothing exceptional. Jessica Rothe, who burst onto the scene in Happy Death Day, proves here that her star-making turn wasn’t a fluke. Harry Shum Jr. isn’t as memorable in his role, although he complements Rothe well. The supporting cast is entirely underused, including Jay Pharaoh and Josh Brener.
In terms of execution, the film is about as straightforward as expected. However, even though the movie is plain, there were plenty of opportunities for it to do something more interesting. Director Marc Meyers misses the mark by not including any delicious-looking food shots or doing anything interesting with the soundtrack.
All My Life is a passable romance, and even though there may not be anything particularly spectacular about it, it’s cute enough to be worth a watch. It’s light and airy to the point of being forgettably entertaining.
All My Life hits theaters on December 4.