All I Wish (aka A Little Something for Your Birthday) movie review: sassy birthday

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All I Wish yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

It’s too predictable and too disingenuous about the realities of what it means to be an “older” woman. But Sharon Stone is totally charming.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
women’s participation in this film
female director, female screenwriter, female protagonist
(learn more about this)

Senna Berges (Sharon Stone: The Disaster Artist) is a Los Angeles fashion worker who dabbles in design and might someday get around to starting her own line, but probably won’t someday get around to settling down: marriage is not her style, she insists. Enter Adam (Tony Goldwyn: The Belko Experiment), a lawyer from Boston who has just arrived in town, and with whom Senna’s best friend, Darla (Liza Lapira: Repo Men), attempts to set her up. It doesn’t go well, but it’s still completely obvious where Senna and Adam are headed.

I can’t remember the last time Sharon Stone was so plain likable onscreen as she is in All I Wish (occasionally titled A Little Something for Your Birthday). It’s a shame, then, that Senna’s story is not as charming as the woman herself. The feature debut of writer-director Susan Walter dips into Senna’s life for one day a year over the course of about half a decade… and that day is her birthday. But the story’s unspoken emphasis on how it’s never too late to follow your dreams and find love is rather undercut by the fact that Senna is supposed to be 47 years old as the film opens — I thought Senna was consciously downplaying her age when she said as much — and Stone is quite a bit older than that (she just turned 60 last month). So there’s an age after which it is all too late, then? Wish’s wish for women to grab life by the cojones no matter what our age would have been that much more powerful if Stone had simply owned her own maturity. Or maybe actual numbers could have been left out of it entirely. Lying about one’s age is never flattering.

There’s real magic in Stone’s performance here: Senna remains engaging even when she fucks up, does stupid stuff, is hypocritical and unreasonable, and is generally her own worst enemy. But my wish for All I Wish ? It could have been more surprising and less predictable on the plot front, and more honest about the realities of what it means to be an “older” woman.

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