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All the Light in the Sky2013

  • 3.7
  • passes the bechdel test
Jane Adams stars as an actress living in Malibu who faces harsh realities of the industry as her age exempts her from more and more acting opportunities. Amidst this career and life crisis enters the actress's niece, played by Sophia Takal, who arrives for a weekend stay and ushers in a complicated prism of emotional insecurities. Can the actress confront her fears, navigate complicated relationships and figure out how to navigate mid-life in Hollywood?

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What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

"...[Joe Swanberg] is to American cinema what Eric Rohmer was to French cinema or what Hong Sang-soo is to Korean film." - Christopher Bourne, Film-Forward


1 member likes this review

This is a treat of a portrait of an actress, played mistressfully by Jane Adams. After viewing two non-linear studies by this director, it is a pleasure to see how he and this ensemble treat a narrative approach quite ably. I appreciate how the film is all about the journey, not about leading somewhere. The talents of Sophia Takal and Larry Fessenden were delightfully woven in ("Jack" is especially a hoot) and all the cast created their work quite well, both in front of and behind the camera. C'est bon!

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (10)

A visually elegant film about living in transition that relies heavily on the fact that Jane Adams is just an incredibly watchable person and actress.

2 members like this review
175801.small
top reviewer

This is a treat of a portrait of an actress, played mistressfully by Jane Adams. After viewing two non-linear studies by this director, it is a pleasure to see how he and this ensemble treat a narrative approach quite ably. I appreciate how the film is all about the journey, not about leading somewhere. The talents of Sophia Takal and Larry Fessenden were delightfully woven in ("Jack" is especially a hoot) and all the cast created their work quite well, both in front of and behind the camera. C'est bon!

1 member likes this review
86096.small
top reviewer

what can I say? I love this film!! the dialog feels improvised. mumble core? 'not sure. I just imagine the director saying, "ok, so in this scene Marie, you're describing to Faye what it meant to you to be 'just starting out' as a hopeful young actor and how you perceived your place in this world." and that jane adams had a lot to draw from. Idk, it's just my perception. it could very well be that every word and movement was carefully choreographed and meticulously planned and carried out. I enjoy a film that has that feel. and the choice of soundtrack is perfect. and superbly cast. I was comfortable sitting and watching this a third time the way that I call a friend with just the desire to sit and stare out over the lake and not feel the need for conversation

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

If this is supposed to be a film about a woman's mid-life crisis, I wonder where the "sting" is. Her one fling could have as well happened when she was younger . . . it wasn't clear that the fling was a flop simply because she felt over the hill. The characters were all rather characterless, and if I wanted a dose of the banality of modern conversation I could just go sit in a Starbucks. I also was having a hard time empathizing with the protagonist, who was affluent, still looked good in a pair of tight jeans and aside from her sort of quasi-concern for her niece didn't really seem to be anything but the good consumer that so many people are. Where's the drama in this? Where's the mood? What makes this worth the money it cost to make it?

Not that everything about mid-life crisis needs to be totally dire, but a much more poignant film on this matter is Heading South, which deals with much heavier issues such as race, economic inequality in addition to the mid-life loss of feminine allure and power. That film is really devastating whereas All the Light in the Sky is just, so what?

The only remotely interesting dialogue in the film is when the main character and niece talk about the decision whether to have children. While the elder lady has missed the boat,--because she "never found the right man" ---the young lady says that would choose having kids over an acting career because she's in it for the attention anyway and she'd get more attention from her kids than the industry (what a reason to have children! Seems to me it is the parents who give attention!). This perhaps reveals the director's reason d'etre more than anyone else's---the women I know in the arts are NOT in it merely for attention, but because of the satisfaction it brings to have a private inner life and to create. However, as I can't think of another film in which this subject is discussed with someone who's missed the boat and one who has not yet embarked, it is at least an attempt to flesh out an otherwise thin drama.

In spite of all my criticisms all the acting is at least believable----but to what end?

1 member likes this review

Take in a deep breath of Zen and this film becomes an unmatched, unabashed sojourn of a maturing female artist in Hollywood (Malibu). It is a powerful and delicate exploration of aging and womanhood. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted. Jane Adams possesses an undefined, one of a kind quality.

It has the the most powerful, playful, and "pertinent to the story" nudity of ANY film ... maybe ever, so poignant and telling. And a little sexy too in a Pollyanna -ish sort of way.

Softly paced and a dialogue that blossoms with metaphorical richness that is transcendent.

The ending seemed to challenge mortality itself and I could have sat in it for 2 more minutes. Moments are precious.

1 member likes this review

an intelligent film about aging, comfort, solitude. Some beautiful images. A quiet film in spite of being dialogue driven. Honest and real.

1 member likes this review

This film was fused with the most glorious light. The main character, however, didn't seem to be very grounded. There were a lot of unresolved issues that she was grappling with, that were never addressed directly. What is to become of her, is the question I asked. The film leaves us hanging, with nothing concluded.

1 member likes this review

This film has so much heart and tenderness. A real gem.

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top reviewer

Joe Swanberg's film works quite well. He is so talented at turning fiction into feeling so real it takes on a documentary feel -- and the intimacy is sometimes almost embarrassing. Jane Adams, as always, is exceptional.

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top reviewer

back & forth a lot of it is sort of annoying _ but i like all of the characters_it's just sort of dense