Sharon Stone’s Performance Carries Romantic Comedy ‘All I Wish’
“All I Wish,” written and directed by first-time helmer, Susan Waters, provides a snapshot into the life of Senna Berges (Sharon Stone) — catching up with the Californian every year on her birthday from ages 46-52. It is a unique narrative device that tends to get slightly tattered by the end of the film’s hour and a half runtime.
Senna is rather young spirited. She has an undeniable lust for life that richly captures the aura of a hopeless dreamer. Younger men swoon to her presence, but they provide hardly any subsidence. It is quite apparent that the hungry fashion designer craves more out of life.
On the morning of her 46th birthday, Senna receives the news that she is fired from her job as a buyer for a fashion boutique. The character is slowly spiraling into a mid-life crisis. But an unexpected romance with a new-to-town Boston lawyer, Adam (played by the suave and confident Tony Goldwyn), quickly shifts the script into clichéd romantic-comedy fare.
Waters, who has served a lengthy career as a second unit director, penned a script that doesn’t tend to break much ground regarding originality. The narrative device of showcasing Senna’s life across several birthdays is its strongest and weakest component. On the one hand, it allows the viewer to get a grander purview into the life of this character – following her through the ups and downs that are consistent with the rollercoaster of life.
Concurrently because the story does spread across so many years, it remains rather surface-level — adhering more to a tell don’t show mentality. It doesn’t allow for the story to get too in-depth in any one in particular avenue because it gives more of an overview of this character’s life. It’s a spark-notes version of what is a very seminal couple of years for this character – never too deep, but touching upon every aspect. It could be argued that perhaps the story would lend itself better as a mini-series, but alas that is not the format presented here.
What remains fresh about the film is the aspect of age. It is no secret that Hollywood favors actresses 25 and younger. But it is rare to see a quasi-coming-of-age film that takes a lot of the struggles of a 20-something and applies them amply to anyone over the age of 40. Senna is coping with a lot of familiar hurtles. Her dream career isn’t providing the amount of financial security that she would deem ideal and her relationship is nonexistent. All the while, she is dealing with her mother’s (Ellen Burstyn) illness. She wants more out of life – a healthy career and someone to marry.
Stone is forever a movie star — and the role of Senna reminds the viewer of just that very reason. She inhabits the character with a genuine sense of ease and realism, while simultaneously maintaining a glowing star-like demeanor. It is a true balance that she delicately pulls off as her smile lightens the screen. She doesn’t seem like she is pulling a performance here, as her role of Senna comes across as very natural.
“All I Wish” opens March 30 in select theaters and VOD.