Melissa Center, Drew Rausch, Josh Casaubon, Rebecca Larsen, Jonathan Chase, Laura Mann, Susan-Kate Heaney, Bruce Lemon, Renee Threatte, Akemi Look
West Liang (Written by), Melissa Center (Story by, Co-Writer)
"All I Want" Released on Amazon
West Liang's All I Want takes a familiar concept into meaningful and entertaining directions, admittedly a bit of a surprise when you read the description of the film and think to yourself "Not again!"
In the film, Mel (Melissa Center) and Andrew (Drew Rausch), are getting ready to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a big ole' bash at their home that will include family and close friends. The two seemingly have it all, from a happy home to a satisfying sex life to an overall contentment with their life journeys. Of course, things are seldom ever what they seem from the outside.
In many ways, All I Want is exactly the film you expect it to be. The friends and family who gather at Mel and Andrews are a mishmash of interesting and occasionally eccentric characters in various stages of stuckness and an obvious familiarity between them. This makes for unquestionable moments of drama and light humor to be played out, though it's also not particularly surprising with Mel and Andrew themselves have a secret of their own.
All I Want, which was just released on Amazon after a successful festival run that included prizes at Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema (Best Supporting Actress for Center) and Los Angeles Film and Script Festival (Best Narrative Feature - Drama), avoids the kind of pretentious eccentricities often found in films like this such as The Big Chill. Instead, the script co-written by Liang and Melissa Center gives us ordinary folks with ordinary lives and, as a result, we ordinary moviegoers identify with them just a little bit more.
Center is, indeed, front-and-center here and gives All I Want its heart and soul with a performance that is memorable and a little bit aching. A Chicago native and Northwestern University graduate now living in L.A., Center is just an absolute gem here and this is the kind of film that leaves me anxious to check out her other work.
This is not to say that Drew Rausch is a slouch. Quite the opposite is true. Rausch is strong throughout and gives a finely tuned performances that runs alongside Center's through all the story's peaks and valleys. The remainder of the film's ensemble cast shines as well.
Rob Houle's original music complements the film quite nicely, while Ruben O'Malley's lensing also deserves kudos.
All I Want may not be groundbreaking cinema or the best film you've ever seen, but it's a familiar and meaningful story told incredibly well and brought to life just as well by an ensemble cast that absolutely gets it. The film is now available on Amazon Prime and definitely worth checking out.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic