Nothing kills a romance film quicker than a rushed angle between the two lovers involved, and All My Life suffers greatly due to this. Based on a true story, the film tells the tear-jerking story of Solomon Chau, as he is diagnosed with liver cancer after falling in love. Unfortunately, All My Life doesn’t live up to the story it’s trying to honor and respect. The emotions the film tries to evoke seems unearned due to its hollow narrative and short runtime.
When films centered around falling in love take no time to develop the characters, it just always falls short as a result. All My Life’s reassuring message about living life to the fullest doesn’t go unnoticed. However, its handling of the couple it’s centered on makes All My Life an underwhelming watch. Directed by Marc Meyers and written by Todd Rosenberg, All My Life stars Jessica Rothe, Harry Shum, Kyle Allen, Chrissie Fit, Michael Masini, and Greg Vrotsos. The film follows Solomon Chau (Shum) and his soon to be wife Jennifer Carter (Rothe), as they are forced to rush their wedding process after Solomon becomes diagnosed with liver cancer. The premise alone is heartwarming, and as mentioned, the film does get its point across to the audience. Still, the rushed love scenario might take some viewers out of the film.
Jennifer and Solomon come face to face for the first time after Solomon’s friend try to impress Jennifer’s group of friends at a bar. Jennifer doesn’t hide her interest, and within seconds she and Solomon are dating. They have moved in with each other, and then a proposal occurs after some time passes. The problem with this script is how very little goes into establishing who these two people are. All My Life tells a great story about love, loyalty, and passion, but Solomon and Jennifer’s development is nonexistent. Sure, there is a lesson to be learned from the unfortunate diagnosis, and the performances contribute to making the film emotional. It’s just disappointing to have the relationship be rushed after learning very little about either character. Luckily, the writing isn’t incoherent, it’s just All My Life’s set up is ridiculous.
Rothe and Shum are brilliant as the on-screen couple and the chemistry between them is undeniable. These two make up for their characters being uninteresting by delivering performances that will pull at the heartstrings of everyone. All My Life is saved by the strong leads, and how they will keep you interested in watching Jennifer and Solomon navigate through life together. Rothe’s portrayal of Jennifer is gutwrenching to watch, as she learns of Solomon’s diagnosis, it becomes easy to want the best for these two due to their amazing acting throughout the film.
Meyers wonderfully directs the film, as it begins with an overly positive vibe, and then it shifts into this depressing drama for the remainder of its runtime. There’s a constant sense of hope despite knowing the result, which makes All My Life that much more enjoyable. Meyers does a great job balancing the shifts in the mood of the film, and once it does take a turn for the worst it doesn’t let up. The score by Lisbeth Scott is a great addition and accompanies every moment of happiness and heartbreak in the best way possible. Overall, this film isn’t bad, but it’s rushed narrative combined with the short runtime leaves an underwhelming feeling.
A film about capitalizing on what matters most in life, and taking it all on with your soulmate will always be a crowd-pleaser for the most part. Still, the narrative hiccups are the film’s greatest issue. All My Life is a generous attempt at crafting a great love story, but the lackluster handling of the two leads is ridiculous. The short runtime is to blame, and a decent film still was made nonetheless. All My Life’s tearjerking premise and the incredible lead performances may be enough for most that decide to watch it.