Movie: ALL MY LIFE
Rating: PG-13, brief language
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Jeanne: Based on the real-life love story of Jennifer Carter and Solomon Chau, ALL MY LIFE is a good film for a cold, snowy winter’s night. It’s billed as a romantic drama, but ALL MY LIFE is far from being maudlin --- or even that dramatic. It’s more upbeat than one may imagine given the truly sad circumstances this couple faced.
Jennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe), better known by her friends and family as Jenn, meets Solomon “Sol” Chau (Harry Shum, Jr.) in a bar when she’s out with friends. It’s very close to love at first sight, and after a few times together, they become inseparable. Jenn helps Sol quit his job and pursue his passion for cooking. All is going swimmingly until Sol ends up in the hospital with a diagnosis of liver cancer.
Jenn’s best friends, Amanda Fletcher (Chrissie Fit) and Megan Denhoff (Marielle Scott), and Sol’s closest buddies played by Kyle Allen and Jay Pharoah, team up with others to raise $20,000 so Jenn and Sol can have their dream wedding sooner than planned. Unfortunately, not long after the spectacular event, Sol becomes much sicker and they are unable to take their tropical honeymoon.
David is not a fan, but as I keep reminding everyone --- what does he know? I’m not going to tell you that this is a movie you simply must see, but it’s better than a lot of other films that come to mind.
Rothe and Shum, Jr. are well cast and exude great chemistry as these star-crossed lovers. They are delightful and charming to watch. I especially loved one of Sol’s final scenes when he’s recording a video for Jenn. It’s lively and sweet --- like most of the film.
Screenwriter Todd Rosenberg doesn’t belabor the melodrama, and director Marc Meyers is adept at keeping the pace brisk. There are few tears, because we really get to witness how two young people handle such a dire prognosis with grace.
So, forget David and his ilk (meaning stupid male critics who most assuredly will pan ALL MY LIFE). Curl up on a blustery night with a fire and a bottle of wine --- and maybe a significant other --- and enjoy ALL MY LIFE.
Opinion: Wait for VOD
David: I like a good cry at the movies as much as any other sensitive guy. (Note: as soon as Jeanne stops gafawing we can continue editing this review.) But ALL MY LIFE did not manage to induce anything close to a tear, at least for me. Jeanne did sniffle occasionally as this true story unfolds.
ALL MY LIFE is not a bad film, it just lacks any real emotional depth. It takes a while for the movie to get into its story arc, that Sol (Harry Shum, Jr.) will be diagnosed with cancer and Jenn (Jessica Rothe) must deal with the realization that she may lose the love of her life.
They are smitten with each other almost immediately after meeting in a
bar, but their courtship is ultra-saccharine, and I grew impatient for the storyline to progress. They do move in together and everything is blissful. One night, however, Sol complains of severe pain in his left side. When he collapses on the floor he is rushed to a hospital and diagnosed with liver cancer.
From here the story follows a likely path of a cancer patient. Chemotherapy works and Sol is free of the disease. They celebrate the good news. But then it returns with a vengeance and he and Jenn now are confronted with the worst possible scenario when Sol is given a timeline for his survival. All this when they are trying to plan their wedding.
Shum Jr. and Rothe share a credible enough chemistry but the overall tone of the film is too sweet and sappy. That is not to say that director Marc Meyers has not injected some good moments. The best episode occurs when Sol becomes totally despondent as he realizes he’s lost his sense of taste ---not a good thing when you’re a chef. But Jenn is ever supportive and loving when she reminds him that he can still see her, hear her and touch her.
The supporting cast does as well as they can with what they are given by first-time feature writer Todd Rosenberg, although only Jay Pharoah of Saturday Night Live fame will be recognizable to most audiences.
Opinion: Wait for VOD