The new Netflix film ‘All Together Now’ starts with an overtly enthusiastic teen Amber Appleton teaching English to a bunch of Korean ladies. The energy seemed very fake and forced right off the bat.
Amber might be an optimistic, happy teen, but unknown to all her friends, she is homeless and spending the nights in a bus with her mom. The story follows her financial and personal struggles as her widowed mother fails to keep things together and veers towards her abusive ex-boyfriend.
I felt the first twenty minutes of the film was very superficial and cheery, despite the seriously strained circumstances the protagonist is in. Everything is conveniently perfect despite the dire poverty the family faces, at least in the first-half. However, fortunately things finally start to feel more genuine towards the middle of the film. A series of unfortunate incidents and an unexpected tragedy makes life exceptionally hard for Amber. While she is shown to be doing great in school and in her two part-time jobs, Amber refuses to take help from anybody, despite being pushed to the point where she would have to drop out of school.
While I did not find the pace of the film to be a problem, I felt like there was something lacking in the story-telling and direction. The cast, especially Auli’i Cravalho who plays Amber, lacks the charm to carry the entire film on her shoulders, since it’s her who gets the maximum screen-time. In-fact nobody in the cast stands out in this film and you can’t really blame them, since they get too much space in this 90 minute film.
To the credit of the makers – the climax was satisfactory, even if a little predictable. Some of the music in the film was quite good. All in all, ‘All Together Now’ is a forgettable little flick, but if you are in mood for a high-school movie with a financially struggling teen, you can give this one a go. It’s good for some weekend distraction and might even get your water-works on, so keep some tissues handy. It’s a 6/10 for me.