A blind woman's relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves.
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At first glance, All I See is You
seems like it would be the triumph-of-the-will love story. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All I See is You
stars Blake Lively (The Shallows
, The Age of Adaline
) as Gina, an American woman living in Thailand who has been blind since a childhood car accident that took the lives of both of her parents. Through a miracle of modern medicine, her sight is restored, and she goes on a celebratory vacation to Spain with her husband, James (Jason Clarke from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
). However, James does not share her new found appreciation for the world, and Gina can finally see - both literally and figuratively - that she and her husband may not belong together.
Even that synopsis makes All I See is You
seem like a romantic romp. It's not. The film, directed by Marc Forster (World War Z
, Machine Gun Preacher
) from a screenplay that he wrote with Sean Conway ("Ray Donovan"), is more of a dark, psychological thriller. To say more would spoil some of the plot points, but just know, this is no sweet optimistic story about a young woman overcoming her handicap.
The setup to All I See if You
is terrific, and the first act is very engaging. Once Gina regains her sight, however, there's a feeling that the movie is just revving its gears, like it's waiting to start again, and that feeling never completely goes away. So, the narrative just kind of plods along, interesting enough but not jaw-dropping, until it finds its way home in the end. And thankfully, it does stick the landing, so the whole experience turns out to be far from a waste of time.
There's a strange feeling of ambiguity that clouds All I See is You
. Never mind the tonal shifts and its anti-genre stance, it's a challenge at times just to figure out who the protagonist is. Both Gina, with her new-found independence, and James, who is visibly threatened by that independence, come off as bad people, so it's difficult for the audience to figure out who to root for throughout the entire second act. It becomes clear enough by the time the chips are down, but for most of the movie, there's just an amorphous mist of unlikeable characters who use their own insecurities to go to some very dark places.
All I See is You
has the artistic aesthetic of an indie movie combined with the tense drama of a big-budget thriller. Sure, the twists are predictable and the characters are helplessly flawed, but Lively chews scenery with the best of them and the film as a whole has style to spare. It's not overly memorable, but it does provide some quick, in-the-moment entertainment.
There's a reason why All I See is You
is set in Thailand and Spain, even though its focus is on American characters. The foreign settings help to symbolically illustrate the isolation that Gina feels; not only does she begin the movie with no sense of sight, but she's sequestered in an unfamiliar land, furthering her dependence upon James. Once her sight is restored, she's still an alien, and James continues to be her whole world - at least for a while. All I See is You was shot on location in Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket) and Spain (Barcelona and Bunol) by cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser (After the Fall
), and the locations are big and sprawling, yet still claustrophobically packed with people, so Gina is confined, even with a big unfamiliar world around her. The settings play a huge role in the film, and Koenigswieser captures it beautifully with both wide shots and tight closeups.
But it's not just the locations that Koenigswieser captures well. He also manages to show the audience Gina's point of view through the use of a compact, large lensed MOVI camera that illustrates the slow regeneration of her eyesight. While blind, the POV shows mostly just shapes and a bit of motion. While her eyesight is healing, the "blind cam" reveals painfully bright lights and more identifiable shapes. Once her sight is restored, her point of view is still soft and blurred, yet the images are recognizable as people and places. It's a fun camera trick that helps the viewer relate to Gina and her plight. Between the gorgeous locations and the innovative photographic gimmicks, Matthias Koenigswieser makes All I See is You
look better than the average independent thriller.