become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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

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.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2018’s other releases.

Apple News
Read this review and other select content from Flick Filosopher
on the News app from Apple.

yellow light 2.5 stars

please help keep truly independent film criticism alive!
support my work at Patreon  support my work at Substack
Pledge your support now at Patreon or Substack.

When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!

All I Wish (aka A Little Something for Your Birthday) (2018) | directed by Susan Walter
US/Can release: Mar 30 2018 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: Jun 11 2018 (direct to DVD)

MPAA: rated R for some sexual content and partial nudity
BBFC: rated 12 (infrequent strong language, moderate sex, sex references, brief drug misuse)

viewed at home on PR-supplied physical media or screening link

IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap