All I Wish

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
All I Wish Movie Poster Image
Unlikable character in flat romance; sex, swearing.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 94 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Success and hard work are valued, but path to that success isn't shown; Senna makes many mistakes and then simply becomes successful all of a sudden. Friendship and family relationships are important, though you could argue that there's also value placed on a woman finding the right man to "complete" her.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Senna is a loving daughter, friend, and partner, but she's also irresponsible, immature, and demanding. At the end of the movie, she suddenly finds happiness, though how or why she earned it is rather a mystery.

Violence

Arguing. A character dies of cancer.

Sex

Senna sleeps with more than one man; sex is definitely implied, but nothing beyond bare shoulders and naked male bottoms shown. A woman removes her top, but no sensitive parts are seen. Kissing. A couple at a club briefly gets "frisky" (partly offscreen). Sex talk, sexual references.

Language

One use of "f--k," a use of "s--t," and a use of "a--hole," plus infrequent uses of "damn," "boobs," "crap," "tart."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Senna frequently drinks to excess, smokes pot. No real hangovers or consequences.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All I Wish is a romantic comedy that checks in on a woman named Senna (Sharon Stone) one day a year, on her birthday, as she tries to find both love and a career. There's kissing and partial nudity (mostly bottoms), Senna sleeps with more than one person, and there's fairly frequent sex-related talk and other sexual material. Language is infrequent but includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Characters argue, and a secondary character dies of cancer. Senna frequently drinks to excess and smokes pot, and there's plenty of social drinking, all without much in the way of consequences. While it's usually refreshing to see a film focus on an older but very vibrant female character, Senna is unfortunately immature and rudderless, and you could argue that the movie is saying she needs a man to make her "complete."

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What's the story?

In ALL I WISH, Senna Berges (Sharon Stone) hopes to succeed as a fashion designer and to find a worthy relationship, but she can't seem to manage either one. The movie visits her on a single day -- her birthday -- every year. Career-wise, she starts out buying fashion items for Vanessa (Famke Janssen) and then getting fired over the poor choice of some orange boots. And on the love front, she picks up random men while never connecting with any of them. Her best friend, Darla (Liza Lapira), tries to set her up with Adam (Tony Goldwyn); it goes badly, but they still make a tentative connection. Over the years, Senna's birthday brunches with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) turn into hospital visits, while Darla gets married and, later, pregnant -- all while Senna still works to find happiness and success. And then one year, a fateful encounter with Adam changes the course of Senna's life.

Is it any good?

The one-day-per-year gimmick at the heart of this flat romance never really clicks, possibly because Senna isn't particularly appealing, staying shallow and unchanging throughout. Stone can be a potent actress, but she chose poorly with All I Wish (an ill-conceived replacement title for the original one, A Little Something for Your Birthday). Senna is a mature woman who behaves like a college-age girl, flighty and rudderless. It's difficult to believe that she would have made it this far in life.

The writing and directing by Susan Walter -- her debut -- has a nervous, twitchy quality, and though All I Wish is billed as a romantic comedy, it's not especially funny. Like Goldwyn's Adam, who's forced to sing a karaoke song in one scene, it's tone-deaf. Interstitial scenes between birthday visits feature "interviews" with some of the characters; weirdly, these contain some of the best, most soulful bits of writing, even if there's no reason for them to exist. The movie also tacks on a subplot about cancer, presumably to add tears to the laughter; it, too, fails. When Senna's happy ending eventually comes, it feels completely unearned.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how All I Wish portrays sex. What value does Senna put on sex and relationships? How does that compare to your own values around these topics?

  • Does Senna drink too much? Is her drinking played for laughs? Are there consequences? Why is that important?

  • Is Senna a role model? Is she responsible? What does she accomplish? How does she accomplish it?

  • One character talks about wishing for things and says that she's learned instead to say "thank you" for things she already has. What does this mean? What do you think of this?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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