Review: Katie Holmes Hits Rock Bottom For ‘All We Had’
Katie Holmes paints a painfully sobering tapestry of a mother and daughter hitting rock bottom and their search for redemption in her directorial debut, “All We Had.”
Centered around a single-mother and daughter looking to find their place in a seemingly crumbling world, “All We Had” is an emotional journey predicated on robust relationships exploring the more painful lows of the human condition. We find a desperately hopeless Rita (Katie Holmes) and her brilliantly luminescent daughter Ruthie (Stefania Owen) once again running, aimlessly seeking a new town in which to start over their tragically cyclical lives. Used to struggling and only relying upon one another, a hopeless Rita and Ruthie seem to be in dire straights until a botched con at a small diner changes their lives forever.
While perhaps not for all audiences, “All We Had” effectively paints a very probable and mature reality of hard knocks, hard choices and the need for people. You will definitley walk away from this film feeling something, whether it be good or bad.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 3.5
Katie Holmes’ directorial debut is a sobering perspective piece on what could very well be a reality of many Americans in the early 2000s. Holmes finds a treasure trove of nuance in her ensemble cast, focusing on development and dialogue rather than extravagant sets or cheap provocative attention grabbers. As far a Holmes work in front of the camera, it’s a departure from her teen drama days or even her recent work on “Ray Donovan” as a smart and driven professional. Holmes tries hard to shed her put-together image to embody the hopelessly flawed ruthie. While successful for the most part, she seems to lack a bit of presence alongside some of her co-stars, such as Stefania Owen.
Stefania Owen steals the show with the wise-beyond her years, yet still youthfully naive, Ruthie. Her character’s narration and emotional arc seems to effectively carry the weight of much of the emotional contour of the film. When it comes to on screen chemistry, Owen and Holmes were meant to play onscreen mother and daughter. Their mannerisms and voices were stunningly similar, to the point of almost being eerie at times.
Another notable standout character was Eve Lindley’s Pam, the transgender waitress struggling to fit in. Amidst the medely of heartache, Holmes treats the audience to a more uplifting ‘warm and fuzzy’ scene between Owen and Lindley.
The casting was different than the typical cookie-cutter hollywood films, instead filled with a motley gaggle of characters. The town dentist, Luke Wilson leaves behind his usual brand of humor, giving a surprisingly straight performance, although at times seeming a bit too detached from the emotional core of the film. Mark Consuelos on the other hand is the films funny bone, providing a charmingly quirky performance as a superficial and shady real estate agent. It makes me wonder, why don’t we see Consuelos in more mainstream comedies?
Richard Kind (“Spin City”, “Inside Out”) plays Marty, a wonderfully gracious and caring soul. Marty is Pam’s “Uncle” and you will quickly wish he was your uncle.
Entertainment Value – 3
Not reliant on special effects or big set spectacles, “All We Had” takes the audience on a tumultuous rollercoaster of emotions. While the film holds attention from start to finish with an enjoyable unpredictability, Holmes keeps things safe never diving too deep into any of the more sensitive topics.
Re-Watchability – 3
“All We Had” is a worthy first attempt by Holmes with an uniquely intimate tapestry of heartbreak and hope. While simple at times, the film has a cohesive feel with some memorable scene work. While they may not have truly given it all they had, the film still leaves you with something to think about.
Watch the official trailer for Katie Holmes’ directorial debut “All We Had” below:
- Entertainment Value
While perhaps not for all audiences, "All We Had" effectively paints a very probable and mature reality of hard knocks, hard choices and the need for people. You will definitley walk away from this film feeling something, whether it be good or bad. "All We Had" is a worthy first attempt by director Katie Holmes with an uniquely intimate tapestry of heartbreak and hope and a positive start to Holmes' career behind the camera.
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