All Together Now
By James Davidson
“All Together Now” is a drama that was released on August 28th, 2020 exclusively on the popular streaming service, Netflix. It follows an optimistic high schooler, Amber Appleton (played by Auli’i Cravalho) who has fallen on hard times with her mother. Amber and her mother are essentially homeless and sleeping on the schoolbus that her mother drives , as well as working odd jobs just to have enough money to eat everyday. Amber is offered an opportunity to audition for Carnegie Mellon, a fine arts college in Pittsburgh. Amber, with the help of her friends, must overcome her hardships and find a way across the country to sing for the audition. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought that it looked like an endearing, feel good movie. I know that Auli’i Cravalho was the voice for Moana in the popular animated film and has an amazing singing voice, so I was expecting her to show off that voice. I was a little disappointed in the result of this film, although it did have a few redeeming qualities.
I found the pacing in this movie to be excruciatingly slow. My mind wandered throughout most of the film and I lost interest quite a few times. The story itself is pretty interesting, but it takes so long for it to develop. By the time the climax of the movie finally came around, I was struggling to pay attention.
The climax was interesting however. I was invested in the characters and the story, I just found the execution of the film to be tedious. I was also very disappointed in the fact that Cravalho’s singing voice was absent for most of the film. One of the main storylines is that Amber has an audition to sing for a prestigious fine arts college, however, the movie only highlights her singing one time. It made it difficult to become invested in that storyline when the character herself didn’t seem that invested in singing.
There were several redeeming qualities to this movie though. The acting was fantastic, Cravalho did an amazing job portraying a teenager who was struggling with a lot in life. Her group of friends, specifically Ty (played by Rhenzy Feliz) and Ricky (Anthony Jacques), were also standouts. The group of friends had great chemistry and their incredible portrayal of a misfit group of highschoolers was almost enough to redeem a sluggish storyline.
While most of the story was stagnant, the third act was interesting and the film really took off at the end. The ending to this movie is what I was expecting the entire film to be like. It was interesting and endearing. The heartwarming ending almost makes up for a lackluster first and second acts. I wish that the entire movie was like the ending. It just took too long for the film to build up to the climax.
The film is rated PG for thematic content, some language and brief suggestive comments. There are some more adult themes and the slow pacing of the film would make it difficult for younger children to sit through. Even though there isn’t anything overly offensive, I think this movie would be better suited to watch with teenage children. It would make a decent date night movie, if you don’t mind a slower-paced film with a decent payoff at the end.
“All Together Now” is a slow-paced drama with a decent, heartwarming ending and some fantastic acting. If you don’t mind slower paced movies, it would be a good date night film, or a great movie to watch with more mature children. The ending almost makes up for a lackluster beginning, although I wish Auli’i Cravalho was given more of an opportunity to showcase her voice. It earns 3 out of 5 stars.