I am finding that wishes really do come true, even if they’re in the form of a movie. As a woman in my mid-50’s, it’s simply refreshing to see a fun romantic dramedy about someone in my age bracket who’s still living life, still re-creating herself, and who can still be perceived as romantic. We find all of this in writer/director Susan Walter’s new film “All I Wish,” starring Sharon Stone.
According to Lesley Coffin’s interview with Walter in FF2 Media, “All I Wish” didn’t start out to appeal to audiences in my demographic. With the financial and creative magic of Stone who was originally approached to play “Mom,” the project was transformed to hit a target audience who’s been completely overlooked in the past. According to the FF2 Media article, Walter shared that Stone said, “Why not make [the film] about someone turning 50, who’s had a dream that’s been festering for decades? Wouldn’t that be more interesting?”
Stone’s suggestion certainly did make for a much more interesting film. Senna, Stone’s character, is a hip, bright, funky unattached woman—exactly the type of friend everyone loves to be around. But she’s struggling internally with her achievements, particularly her work. As a fashion designer who has not yet realized her potential, Senna finds herself without a job, floundering for a bit as she rights herself in the turbulent waters of life. The film follows Senna, picking up on her birthday each year and we see a beautiful evolution exemplifying what it’s like to always have dreams…and wishes even women our age.
Senna’s very close to her mother, Celia (Ellen Burstyn), who is always the first to call and wish her daughter a happy birthday. Their bond is sweet yet very real as it’s not perfect; her mother says and does (humorous) typical mom things and Senna’s reaction to them is spot-on. Senna’s friendships are also endearing yet realistic as we watch and understand her interaction with Darla (Liza Lapira) whose life unfolds in a predictable way. It’s Darla’s honesty and encouragement that pushes Senna to pursue her dreams that reminds us what best friends should be.
“All I Wish” is a romantic film as well, but Senna’s future and happiness doesn’t hinge on finding the right man as most romantic comedies portray. It is a vital part of her life, but her independence and wisdom at this stage in her life allows her to continue to be who she is. Tony Goldwyn plays her love interest, Adam, a bright and charming man who gives Senna a run for her money and we watch their relationship change on those mile marker birthdays.
What makes “All I Wish” unique is Senna’s age. She has gone through all the typical growing pains of life, learned from them, yet still finds lessons to learn. She has to go through the pain of loving and losing her mother, something many of us 50-somethings have had to endure. Rarely do you find a film that tells a story that encompasses this stage of life and living, but “All I Wish” does just that.
Stone’s portrayal of Senna seems to be right in her wheelhouse. She doesn’t look her age and this vibrancy exudes from her character of Senna as she lives life to its fullest. Stone allows the viewer to understand Senna’s innermost fears, relating to her outward confidence while masking some of the pain she is experiencing. Of course, Burstyn shines as Senna’s mother as she embodies a loving mom we all would like to have. Together, these women create an unbreakable bond while still finding a balance of independence.
There is humor in the story as well. It’s the irony of life; the situations we can all understand. It’s perspective that comes with experience. And there is the one scene at the beach involving a car trunk, a towel, and a misplaced set of keys that will make you laugh out loud.
“All I Wish” is a heartfelt and relatable film filled with humor as we enjoy getting to know and grow with Senna. The film confirms the fact that we’re never to old to have dreams, try new adventures, and start another chapter in our lives all the while holding on to a concept of love and sexuality. In the end, it’s one of those movies you find yourself breathing a sigh of delight and just feeling good.