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The larger picture
November 09, 2017
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As pretentious, nearly unwatchable fiascos go, “All I See Is You” is that rare film that can empty theatres in its first (interminable) half hour. This botched psychological drama opens in Bangkok and revolves around the intense relationship of married couple Gina (Blake Lively) and James (Australia’s Jason Clarke, appearing as Teddy Kennedy next year in “Chappaquiddick”).

Gina, blinded as a child in a Spanish car crash that killed her parents, depends entirely on James to navigate the world. To have us experience her off-kilter sight, director Marc Forster (Halle Berry’s Oscar winning “Monster’s Ball,” the 007 hit “Quantum of Solace”) repeatedly recreates Gina’s blurred vision on the big screen — to irritating effect. A scene of the two ecstatic in bed lets us understand how James enjoys having a sightless partner, it excites him. When Forster shows Gina’s vivid fantasies during their friendship, they don’t involve James. The couple’s inter¬dependency is obliterated suddenly when a doctor (Danny Huston) offers a breakthrough corneal transplant that lets Gina see in one eye. Now James faces a new reality: His wife is ready to explore the world on her own even if she must regularly take medicine and eye drops. They visit Barcelona to see Gina’s married sister and revisit the site of the crash that changed Gina’s life.

Here in sensuous Spain, James, controlling and conservative, is increasingly uncomfortable. He butts heads with his party-hearty brother-in-law. Back in Bangkok, Gina goes blonde and meets a hot guy in the gymnasium swimming pool. James becomes more upset when told their infertility issues are his fault — he’s shooting blanks.

As “All I See” ponders whether this relationship can continue, Gina’s recovered sight is suddenly threatened. Did James dilute her eye drops to have her dependent on him again? Or did Gina, eager to restore the balance in their relationship, dilute the dosage? OK, by this point it’s doubtful anyone would care. Lively had infinitely better luck battling a shark last year in “The Shallows.” Here, she and Clarke generate little heat, no sparks and less insight.

Tribune News service

 

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