Blake Lively shines in “All I See Is You”


For a few years now, Blake Lively has been quietly doing really strong work. She’s quickly becoming incredibly underrated in Hollywood. Lively is just waiting for the right project to really break out, and her latest work in the independent film All I See Is You showcases her best performance to date. It opens this week and could even present her as a dark horse Best Actress candidate. The field is probably far too stacked to realistically get her in, but this is another hint that she’s going to be a force in the industry. A well deserved nomination could easily be in Lively’s future.

The film is a character study with some thriller elements thrown in as well. Gina (Lively) lives with her husband James (Jason Clarke) in Bangkok. They’re there due to James’ work, though the experience is far different Gina. After all, she’s blind. Having lost her sight as a child in a car accident that killed her parents, Gina has always had a unique relationship with her blindness. When a doctor (Danny Huston) is able to restore her vision in one eye, she’s ecstatic. James, however, isn’t thrilled, as he’s worried she’ll see him differently. At first, it seems like a silly thought, but both of them subtly begin to act and interact in ways previously unthinkable. As Gina experiences the world in a whole new way, cracks form in their relationship. The more she learns, the more disturbed she gets. Marc Forster directs and co-write the picture with Sean Conway. The supporting cast includes Wes Chatham, Miquel Fernández, Ahna O’Reilly, Kaitlin Orem, Xavi Sánchez, Yvonne Strahovski, and more. Cinematography here is done by Matthias Koenigswieser, while the score comes from Marc Streitenfeld.

Lively is easily the best part of this movie, which is a mixed bag overall. She gives a hell of a performance, both depicting a blind woman as well as someone embracing the ability to see once again. It’s easily her strongest work so far in her career, full of layers and absolutely riveting. Even when the flick itself struggles, she sees you through, no pun intended. Clarke is solid as well, while Forster adds some nice visual flourishes (though it’s overkill to me), but Lively is best in show, bar none. If you see the film, you should be seeing it for her turn.

Here is what I would rank as Lively’s ten best performances to date:

10. New York, I Love You
9. Accepted
8. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
7. Savages
6. The Age of Adeline
5. Hick
4. Cafe Society
3. The Shallows
2. The Town
1. All I See Is You

Also, here is how I would rank Forster’s directorial outings (that I’ve seen) so far:

9. Machine Gun Preacher
8. The Kite Runner
7. All I See Is You
6. Quantum of Solace
5. Finding Neverland
4. Monster’s Ball
3. Stay
2. World War Z
1. Stranger Than Fiction

Awards wise, the hopes for All I See Is You begin and end with Lively. Her candidacy is the one to focus on. Open Road may try to be bold and go with a larger campaign, trying to put forth Best Picture, Best Director (for Forster), Best Actor (for Clarke), Best Actress (for Lively), Best Original Screenplay (for Conway and Forster), and Best Cinematography as possibilities, but they’d be kidding themselves. If anything happens, it’ll be Lively in Actress. Unfortunately, the Best Actress field is stacked in 2017, Oscar wise, but she could show up at a precursor or two. That’s hardly beyond the realm of possibility. Time will tell, but one thing is for sure…Lively deserves some notice here. She’s just that good.

On Friday, Lively fans have her finest work to date on display when All I See Is You opens. She’s stunningly good, and even if the movie isn’t anything special, her performance makes it worth seeing. That isn’t always the case with flawed features, but this bit of acting overcomes any weakness in the project itself. If you’ve appreciated the actress over the years and wanted to see her really show some added range, this will be a treat to witness. Forster’s visuals don’t add anything to the proceedings, but they’re nice to look at. If you’re a fan of his directorial outings as well, you might dig it too. Still, this is the Lively show, bar none. You’ll see if you give it a shot…

Be sure to check out All I See Is You, opening in theaters on a limited basis this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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