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TIFF Review: All I See Is You

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Stills_All I See Is You

Blake Lively continues to increase her exposure and change her career trajectory with her newest film All I See is You.  The Gossip Girl alum has worked hard shed her teen soap skin, taking roles recently in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society and headlining The Age of Adaline and thriller The Shallows.  It all seems carefully thought out to portray Lively as a new leading lady, and for all intents and purposes it’s working.

In All I See is You, Lively plays Gina, a woman who lost her vision as a young girl in a car accident, where she also seemingly lost her parents.  She lives in Bankok, Thailand with her husband James (Jason Clarke), who is seemingly dedicated to the care of his wife.  However, when Gina visits a new doctor who is able to give her sight in one eye things begin to change.  Things aren’t how Gina visualized them – her apartment a sterile, colourless place, her wardrobe bland and instantly thrown out.  Her relationship with her husband, who she essentially has never seen, changes and the question of how far you would go to keep the one you love comes into play.

It’s an interesting idea from a directing perspective – how to portray the different senses on screen, or the absence of certain senses, and certainly is one of the reasons helmer Marc Forster (Moster’s Ball, World War Z) was attracted to this project.  How do you put the audience inside the mind of a blind person? How do you create an on screen visual for how someone who has lost their site perceives their environment – the light, the motion, the sound.  It’s all sensory overload and very effective the first few times it occurs.  “Seeing” things from Gina’s point of view is an important tool in Forster’s belt, but becomes an overused mechanism in the first part of the film.

Lively, while still somewhat limited as an actress, is constantly improving her craft and her ability to transition through genres.  She makes the most of her time on screen, none of which is more evident as when Gina starts to regain her vision.  Clarke however runs a bit flat, never as menacing as he could be later on in the film, the intensity he has had in previous movies seeming to lack here.

Forster, who also helped pen the script, was clever in picking Thailand as his main location, helping to alienate Gina further in culture and language, causing her to always rely on James which, as he states “makes him feel special.”  However Forster, who historically has been uneven in his offerings allows a few too many closeups to give away the ‘twist’ of this one fairly early on if you are paying even the remotest of attention.

While there are some inventive thoughts, and bright moments, in All I See Is You, the end result is somewhat dull and definitely not the thriller advertised.  If Forster was trying to be a little Hitchcockian in the slow burn he instead really just fizzled out.

2.5-out-of-5

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