All I Wish (2018)

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A woman goes through a series of birthdays with life-changing events in this very different take of the romantic comedy from first time director Susan Walter.

Senna is a woman who is a free spirit. She has never been in a committed relationship. She has worked as a buyer for a fashion boutique and yet she does have the talent to be her own designer. However, on her 46th birthday, she loses her job and continues her free spirit ways, at times to the chagrin of her mother. However, on this fateful day, at her birthday celebration, she meets Alan, a lawyer who had moved to L.A. from Boston and just happens to be a friend of Senna’s best friend Darla.

Every year since, Senna slowly finds herself finding her way. On her 48th birthday, she and Alan finally find themselves attracted to each other to the point where they start up a relationship. She opens her own small fashion boutique. However, a lot soon begins to change, from a family tragedy to relationship issues. When it comes time for Senna to finally find herself as to who she is meant to be and what she wants, will it be too late for a stable relationship with the one man who she finally has fallen in love with?

Romantic comedies are quite a genre to work with because if anyone has seen the likes of Lifetime Movies or Hallmark Movies, the abundance of the genre just seem to follow the same plot. However, first time director Susan Walter, who also scripted the film as a part homage to an 80’s classic, decided to go a different route to the genre and as a result, keeps the viewer engaged rather than make them want to think that this is a ho-hum same ol’ same ol’ rom-com.

What Walter accomplishes with this film and proves with it is that one is never too old to find their way. Where coming-of-age films usually involve teens or early 20’s characters, our central character is played by Sharon Stone, whose character of Senna slowly begins to find her niche beginning with her 46th birthday with each “chapter” revolving around consecutive birthdays. Senna starts off as a free spirit who works as a buyer for a fashion boutique only to lose her job on her birthday after drawing the ire of her boss, played in a great performance by former model turned actress Famke Janssen.

It is clear with this film that despite her free spirited ways, she still feels closeness to her mother, played by the legendary Ellen Burstyn and her best friend Darla, played by Liza Lapira. The chemistry between Stone and these two actresses are so natural that it is as if you are seeing their relationships play out really well. What’s even more greaet is Stone’s chemistry with Tony Goldwyn, who plays Alan. Taking a different route from your typical rom-com, their chemistry is quite fun to watch. Will they or won’t they is what the viewer will keep guessing.

In what is a homage to the 80’s classic When Harry Met Sally, as a cool down between birthdays, the viewer gets to meet central characters who reveal a birthday that sticks out in their mind as they have something interesting to reveal. When Janssen’s Vanessa reveals her birthday, it will make you wonder why she is the way she is and instead of having such hatred for her, will make you feel a bit more empathetic. It is a welcome homage as well as against type for the typical rom-com.

All I Wish is a well thought out different approach at meshing the coming of age film and the romantic comedy. Sharon Stone is great in the central role and with a great cast supporting her, this is truly a winner for first time director Susan Walter.

WFG RATING: A-

CineTelFilms and MRB Films present an ETA production. Director: Susan Walter. Producers: Eric Brenner, Rob Carliner, Matthew R. Brady, Gary Preisler, and Sharon Stone. Writer: Susan Walter. Cinematography: Pedro Gómez Millán. Editing: Robert Brakey.

Cast: Sharon Stone, Tony Goldwyn, Ellen Burstyn, Liza Lapira, Jason Gibson, Caitlin FitzGerald, Gilles Marini, Famke Janssen, Erica Ash, Harry Zinn, Leonor Valera, Yvonne Jung, D.G. Guyer, Ryan Lochte, Matthew Broussard.

Universal Pictures and Paladin Entertainment will be releasing the film to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on March 30.

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