All My Life is cliched but worth a look
Following some darker genre films, we have Marc Meyers directing something lighter in All My Life from Universal Pictures. Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. headline the romance drama based on Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter's true story. The film follows a young couple that rushes to put their wedding together after Solomon is diagnosed with liver cancer. All My Life opens when Solomon (Harry Shum Jr.) and Jennifer (Jessica Rothe) first meet at a bar and hit it off instantly. Todd Rosenberg's script shows the couple's natural chemistry and the beauty of their dating life, all the way to their eventual engagement.
Sadly, right after becoming engaged, Sol is diagnosed with liver cancer. After undergoing successful surgery, Sol and Jennifer think everything is ok and begin to focus on their future. Tragically we learn that Sol's cancer comes back, and they learn Sol only has months to live. This news sets a plan in motion by their friends to give them a dream wedding they both deserve.
I briefly remember the Go Fund Me story launched by the friends of the real-life Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter back in 2015 and upon hearing about it, I knew that one day someone would make a movie or write a book about the events. The couple’s story writes itself and has all the making of a classic tearjerker. Furthermore, I'm a fan of both true stories and the cast, so I was looking forward to the movie.
The chemistry between Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. is one of All My Life's critical strengths. Watching the film with my wife, I believed in the couple's relationship, and while I knew how the story was going to end, I couldn't help but smile at the two when they reached the altar. Rothe and Shum totally sell the material and avoid mundane sap.
Since breaking through in the Happy Death Day films, Jessica Rothe is an actress I always look forward to seeing on screen. At the same time, Harry Shum Jr elevates the charm he displayed on Glee to leading man status. Kyle Allen, Chrissie Fit, Jay Pharoah, Marielle Scott, and Keala Settle all show up in substantial supporting roles as the couple's friends. Granted, none of the friend characters have strong arcs, but they didn't need them as this is Sol and Jennifer's story.
All My Life clocks in at a quick ninety minutes and never overstays its welcome.
Director Marc Meyers keeps the film moving along at a brisk pace despite the heartbreaking tragedy that the real Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter suffered. There aren't any tropes of Saul crossing off a bucket list or making amends with family, nor is there some vast heartbreaking death scene for Sol. Instead, the script wants to focus on the beauty of living life to the fullest.
With great performances from its lead and never overdoing its premise, All My Life is a short and light enjoyable film for either date night or girl's night. Yes, the film is formulaic and somewhat clichéd, but as they say, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." Therefore when the credits rolled on All My Life, I was happy I watched the film.
Final Grade: C+