If you are a sucker for romantic comedies with a tragic twist then this is just what the doctors ill prescribe for you. Shamelessly schmaltzy and not afraid to wear its heart on its sexy sleeve, All My Life tells the true story of a couple Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter in America whose wedding plans were shaken when the groom was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before the wedding.
It’s a heartbreaking story and one that could fall apart under the weight of its intrinsic sentimentality. It is to the director’s credit (Marc Meyers earlier directed the heartwarming How He Fell In Love) that he keeps tight control over the tears and focuses on the effort to keep life going on a normal keel even while the couple’s dreams fall apart.
For a film that has no big names in the cast, the tragic drama is surprisingly effective. The role model seems to be the 1970 blockbuster Love Story where Ali McGraw died so beautifully in the arms of a sobbing Ryan O’Neil that dying almost became fashionable in love.
Here the focus is not on dying but on making the best of the time that the couple has left on earth. The passages of romancing are moving and the bouts of ill-temper, understandable. At one point Solomon, a passionate chef by profession, hurls hurt at his sweetheart for having lost the power of taste. For a man who deals with food, that’s death.
Such moments are deeply effective in conveying the unfair blows that life deals so unexpectedly. Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr are no Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal. But they have a certain combined charm that takes the treacly tale tirelessly to its tearful terminal. The supporting cast is truly supportive in this case. The friends of both the bride and groom go out of their way to make the couple’s wedding happen. Since the couple has spent all its savings on his treatment the friends initiate online funding for their wedding. Money pours in.
To this I say, thank goodness! Kindness lives even as fate gets brutally unkind. Go for this one and have a good cry.
Directed by Marc Meyers All My Life gets 3 stars.
Image source: Instagram/jessica_rothe, Youtube/UniversalPicturesCanada, IMDb
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