All My Life (2020)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 4, 2020 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - China , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Jules Fox

All My Life is a romantic tragedy based on a true story that insists that people must enjoy the brief but beautiful lives they've been given. Jenn and Sol fall deeply in love with each other and decide to cohabitate. A perfect match, nothing can stop their dream wedding; that is, except terminal cancer. But with everyone's support, they decide that the show must go on.

Jenn (Jessica Rothe) is a college student studying psychology and spending her free time with her friends at a sports bar. She happens upon Sol (Harry Shum Jr.), who despite his lack of prowess as a pickup artist, more than makes up for it with charm and authenticity.

Smitten instantly, their whirlwind romance lands them living together, which also means facing a healthy dose of real-world problems that threaten their sweet honeymoon phase. Sol's digital marketing career is not enjoyable since his true aspiration is to become a chef. Jenn wants to spend more time with him, but Sol is up late at night working on his primary job to save money and not investing that time in their relationship. So, Jenn surprises him with an opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities to her cousin Gigi, who owns a local restaurant; this leads to the job opportunity Sol has been looking for.

Things couldn't get any more perfect for the two when Sol proposes to Jenn in epic fashion. But they can get far worse, and they do when Sol is diagnosed with liver cancer, and their perfect bliss is now seemingly guaranteed to be doomed. They are supported emotionally and financially, however, by friends and a community that want to see them at least enjoy a lovely wedding while they still have each other.

Director Marc Meyers (Human Capital, My Friend Dahmer) who is known for various kinds of dark films, brings a wonderful human element to the screen in All My Life. Thoughtful pacing leads us through a series of relatable events, then strips away the ease which the couple enjoyed, adding so much hardship to the core that it would seem impossible to overcome the shadow of grief and loss. Yet his touch with the leading actors lends all the credibility the movie needs to shine through the darkness, rather than get buried underneath it.

Sometimes the tragedy building up is a little too much on-the-nose, but throughout the film, there's a universal message to look on the bright side. With a leading couple that is loveable even at their worst, they really nail it at their best. A brief run time doesn't allow any room for dragging out the inevitable conclusion.

While there's not much to dislike about this beautiful tearjerker, All My Life has been done slightly better before. Convincing performances and beautiful set pieces help cobble together what is ultimately a sweet and optimistic film. A perfect date night movie and another strong contender for fans of the genre, this may be a niche interest, but at least it's interesting.