All Together Now was not what I thought it would be. I have not read the book the film is based on and so I watched it with simply the premise in the head. To say that it took me by surprise is an understatement. I still don’t know how I would qualify this film, how I could describe it. Going into this film, I thought I was in for a very normal young adult film, the type that we are now used to seeing on Netflix. All Together Now is not that. While there are tonal problems at times, the film doesn’t pull its punches and hits you at every turn in the feelings. Does it feel like it might be too much at times? Yes, it does. But even when it does, the stellar performance from Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) saves the film from going too much into the melodramatic.
The main takeaway from this film is the flawless performance from Cravalho. She outshines the film in every way and carries much of it on her back. And that is something to say when you look at the rest of the cast. Legend Carol Burnett, Justina Machado (One Day At A Time), Judy Reyes (Claws, One Day At A Time), Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and C.S Lee (Dexter, Chuck) just to name a few. (And please note that after reading this cast I was 100% certain this was a comedy, but a comedy it isn’t.) She never falters and gives a truly compelling performance that I won’t forget easily. Because the tone of the film changes so drastically, a lot is asked of her. But she isn’t the only one who gives a great performance. Machado and Reyes do the most with the little time they get and Carol Burnett is Carol Burnett and that is enough said to know that she kills it. All Together Now has a stellar cast and even when the script just doesn’t work, they make it work, they are able to create performances that take your breath away and just sucks you in the film.
The thing about All Together Now that annoyed, and I don’t know if that is even the right word, the most is the tone of the film. It starts very light and cute and then about half an hour in, the punches start. And they just won’t stop. That is my main problem with the film is that it just doesn’t stop hurting you. Sometimes that work, but for All Together Now it just feels too much. Things pill up and by the end of the film, you can’t even feel satisfied by the ending because everything went wrong. It’s not the first young adult film that tries to go the dramatic route but All Together Now does it to an extreme. And I think that it’s something that needs to be balanced. For most of the film, I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was so dark, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I think that it’s probably the thing that hurts this film the most because if those moments of hurt would have been balanced better, the film would have benefited from it a lot.
All Together Now tries something different and at times it works, others it doesn’t. But I can’t help but command it for at least trying. The thing that shines the most in this film is the cast, mostly Auli’i Cravalho who continues to give great performances every time she takes a role. She is a star and this film just proves it to me. With tonal issues and script problems, All Together Now isn’t for everyone but it also breaks the mole of typical young adult films.