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ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY (Review)

Review by Elizabeth Weitz
  Produced by Adam Donaghey and Joe Swanberg 
Screenplay by Jane Adams and Joe Swanberg 
Directed by Joe Swanberg 
Starring Jane Adams, Sophia Takal,  Kent Osborne

When a movie clocks in at a mere 79 minutes there are usually only two reasons:

a) the movie is a tightly constructed tale that encompasses everything necessary to the story within its limited time frame and thus leaves one compelled,  or

b) is so horribly made that it is a gift that it is only a little over an hour long.

The good news is that All the Light in the Sky is the former and more than makes up for its short length through a script that is both engaging and rather poignant.

The film stars Jane Adams (Hung, Happiness) as Marie, an actress whose youth has started to slip away and whose career options have begun to go to Kristen Wiig. 

Adams, who is the co-writer of the film, has managed to capture that powerful turn that all women in Hollywood experience when they eek past the glorious 30s and begin to see the career that they have built become relegated to small, uninteresting parts on a Law and Order: SVU episode.

While Marie looks, to all extent and purposes, like a contented woman who is dealing with her diminishing career opportunities, there is still a sense of much that she has given up to obtain her dream; no children (which is, of course, fine but some would think a sad option), she has no real relationship with a significant other and, given that acting roles are being passed onto only a handful of women who are of a similar age (because god forbid the big screen is filled with talented women who are older than 22) her hopefulness to land a job of significance (or literally, just to be happy when an indie film with no budget has a start date) feels slightly melancholy…which is exactly what we are supposed to feel.

When Marie’s niece Faye, who is an aspiring actress (played by Sophia Takal- Gabi on the Roof in July) comes to stay with her, Marie sees at this as a way to pass along her experiences about the industry, but in sharing how the world of acting works, Faye and Marie’s relationship evolves into something deeper and more meaningful via some incredibly moving conversations that show that regardless of where women tend to be in regards of a career and success, they all have the exact same issues when it comes to navigating the world.

All the Light in the Sky is a good movie which feels like a very personal open letter to Hollywood and one that I hope Hollywood reads, but it is also a quiet movie that will more than likely be overlooked simply due to its narrative and truthfulness.

With it’s tight direction (aptly done by Joe Swanberg- Drinking Buddies– who also co-wrote and produced the film) and strong performances by Adams and Takal, this is one of those movies that will stay with you for a while.

I highly recommend it.

All the Light in the Sky is now playing in theaters in select cities and is currently available nationwide on VOD/iTunes
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