All I See is You: A Case of ‘So Close, Yet So Far’
Despite boasting a seemingly interesting and thought-provoking premise, All I See Is You disappoints. Directed by Stranger than Fiction’s Marc Forster – who also penned the script together with Ray Donovan screenwriter, Sean Conway – this supposed psychological-thriller-come-erotic-drama has its moments, but it also feels like a needlessly theatrical Nicolas Sparks-inspired marital melodrama which, despite a few visual flourishes here and there, doesn’t really have much to offer in the end.
The story is centred on Gina (Lively still searching for that breakthrough role); a young woman living in Bangkok together with her life-insurance salesman husband, James (Clarke). Thanks to a childhood car accident that took the lives of both her parents, Gina has been left blind, depending on James – who she’s never actually seen – for guidance and support.
Hope soon enters their lives when they make an appointment to meet with Dr. Hughes (Huston) who informs the couple that a corneal transplant surgery has a good chance of restoring Gina’s sight.
As promised, Gina’s vision is restored with blurry shapes and images soon coming into focus with the additional help of steroid drops she has been advised to use on daily basis. Seeing her surroundings for the first time, Gina is soon overcome with disappointed that things, including their bare-cold high-rise apartment in a foreign land, is not as warm and cosy as she imagined. What makes matters even worse is that James himself is not who Gina thought he was, with her newly-found independence not sitting all that well with her husband who seemed to have been happier when his wife was blind.
As mentioned, the concept of the story is, at the very least, intriguing. Watching Gina, embracing her newly-found world of faces, shapes and colour is endearing and even thrilling to see unfold. Lively delivers a relatively solid performance, playing the role of a young woman who finds herself transforming from a docile, frumpy-looking thing into a seemingly uninhabited woman looking for her own sense of self. The central relationship between her and her needy husband, however, is not entirely fleshed out, which, as a result, causes something of a disconnect to their story, while the on-screen chemistry with her co-star is equally unavailable, leaving everyone to wonder what brought these two together to begin with.
Employing abstract visuals to portray Gina’s other seemingly heightened senses which come to light during a particularly erotic lovemaking scene, there is an appreciated sense of unconventionally to the film. However, the story quickly takes an overemotional and theatrical turn which diminish the many topics the story could have explored. In addition, Forster doesn’t seem to know when enough is enough with the untiring and seemingly overplayed visual trimmings soon becoming a distraction that quickly overstay their welcome.