Review by Christine Thompson
In ALL I WISH, writer/director Susan Walter (Alien: Resurrection) explores that it’s never too late to achieve success and to find one’s true love.
That’s the logline, but the last bit that could have been added is “no matter how hard you try to mess it up.”
In ALL I WISH, Sharon Stone delights as Senna Berges, an aspiring fashion designer with a sense of style as wild as her personality – she goes through a string of younger, hot (of course)men, which leads to great sex and ultimately dissatisfaction.
The film is framed around a series of Senna’s birthdays, starting at her 46th, which always begin with a phone call from her mother Celia (Ellyn Burstyn). This birthday promises to be different…her interfering friend Darla (Liza Lapira) tries to set Senna up on a blind date with a lawyer friend, the aptly named Adam (Tony Goldwyn). Side note to Houstonites, Darla’s husband Steve is played by real-life Houston litigation lawyer Jason Gibson, who bares his toned derriere in one of the funnier scenes after Senna is fired by her boss (Famke Jannsen) and has to crash with her pals.
The set-up attempt fails disastrously when Adam meets Senna at her birthday party, drinking at the bar alone. He starts describing to a bemused Senna how he hates blind dates, and what follows totally discourages any chance of connection – ever.
Ensuing birthdays in following years show how the two meet again, fail at a relationship, fall in love with other people, and ultimately re-connect. Ellyn Burstyn is particularly poignant as the self-blaming but hopeful mother, who explains herself in one of the talking-head cutaway scenes peppered throughout the film.
Writer/Director Susan Walter’s debut feature is fraught with the perils of modern-day reality, featuring a woman who finally gets it right later in life. ALL I WISH sends a message of “it’s never too late” no matter the circumstances.
Sharon Stone originally read the part of the mother of a 25 year old in the script, but pitched the idea to Walters that it would be more interesting to play the daughter. Stone told journalist Julie Miller in a Vanity Fair article “I think as we get older, we don’t believe that everything comes from your partner. We believe that a partner is a piece of our life, but not the whole pie, and we don’t say ‘You complete me’ anymore. We come completed, and two completed souls come together in a partnership as equals. We’re not waiting for a man to come around and tell us, ‘Now you’re a full human being.’ We must each find our wholeness, and that wholeness is the greatest gift we have to give to another.”
All I Wish is distributed by Paladin and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film will be released in theaters, on VOD, and via Digital HD, March 30.