It would be unprofessional to make guesses on what compelled Katie Holmes to make All We Had based on what we know from tabloid magazine headlines. However, it’s hard not to assume when audiences observe the mother-daughter bonding of Holmes and breakout actress Stefania Owen.
It’s a prominent relationship that has both women wary of men, even towards gentlemen who implement welcoming kindness. All We Had isn’t anti-male though, nor does it profile feministic views. All We Had sheds light on uplifting messages of gender equality, but screenwriters Josh Boone (director of The Fault in Our Stars) and Jill Killington adapt Annie Weatherwax’s novel into a story of the human spirit. Though the film isn’t preachy, the constant narration by Owen is overbearing at times along with some of derivative inspirational phrases.
Katie Holmes makes her directorial debut with All We Had, and she’s on the same page as her screenwriters. In a move that either reflects her inexperience as a filmmaker or her knowledge about developing characters, Holmes gives her cast lots of leeway to figure out their roles – either way, her approach works. The results generate a special fascination for the different personalities on screen; even if these acquaintances exist for mere moments (I would’ve liked to have seen more of Judy Greer’s turn as a gossipy neighbour though). The film has been blessed with talented performers, but Richard Kind is undoubtably the film’s scene stealer – he brings a wonderful forgiving warmth to his lighthearted samaritan.
All We Had is a satisfactory movie with efficient consistency. It’s a good start for director Katie Holmes.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie