‘All I See Is You’ Is Strange, Stylish and Surprising

What struck me most about ‘All I See Is You,’ a film following a blind woman’s increasingly turbulent marriage, was how gorgeous the visuals were — ironic as that is.

The story opens with Gina (Blake Lively), a blind woman, and her husband James (Jason Clarke) going about their day as per their routine, in which he assists her in getting where she needs to go. All the while, we’re afforded glimpses of what she sees, or rather, what she doesn’t; director Marc Forster does an amazing job of briefly allowing the audience to experience Gina’s blindness by keying up her other senses and showing right off the bat how vulnerable and defenseless she feels when the world is so loud and allshe seems to know about it are vague colors and lights.

The rest of the film’s aesthetic is broken wide open when her doctor proposes an operation that will restore her sight, and Gina begins to learn to see again — but in doing so, discovers a newer, darker side to her husband, one that surfaces as she struggles to regain her independence after relying on him for so long. It sounds simple enough, but there’s so much more to unpack. She wants him to understand her, but now that she can see him for who he is, he can no longer be who he was, while she herself is in the process of changing.

It’s a fascinating story, with developments that are more subtle than you might expect, something the movie makes work for it. It’s clever and symbolic, and where other movies bear repeating certain plot points to make sure they’ve hammered them home, ‘AllISeeIsYou’ sprinkles just enough breadcrumbs before stepping back and letting us do the rest (for instance, Gina lost her sight in a car accident years ago, but it’s more or less just alluded to, rather than laid out for us in plain terms). The story doesn’t outright give itself away, much less its twists and turns, leaving audiences to imagine and interpret them in a similar way as to how Gina imagined what her own world had been when blind.

There were, at times, seemingly unnecessary detours — see: weird, Italian sex interludes — that might have been an effort to stylize what was already great (or possibly to add shock value?), but they didn’t detract too much. In a sense, they could even be perceived as a means of Gina’s autonomy returning to her by her owning her sexuality. Blake Lively is an incredible enough dramatic actress to portray that, anyhow, and opposite her, Jason Clarke’s performance definitely measures up. It shows in the way the movie doesn’t explicitly tell you what’s happening or what to believe, and yet by the end, you know exactly how messy and tangled their marriage has become with just a look.

All in all, this is one insane love story — though ‘love’ might be being a bit generous —and it extends far beyond these characters to the types of people they represent, as well as their emotions: jealousy, possessiveness and resentment, just to name a few. The settings are rich and colorful, a truth some of the breathtaking shots in the film lend to, but they’re just situations, circumstances for the couple to tackle in the grand scheme of things. Everything feels like a metaphor with so few spoken words; the crux of this movie is in its visuals and the emotions that carry them, rather than any one piece of dialogue.

That said, one piece the film continues to loop back toisa simple, yet beautiful and haunting song that plays on as the ending, an unexpectedly savage surprise, plays out. There’s a sense of give and take in every relationship, but ‘AllISeeIsYou’ is a profound example of what happens when one side wants more than the other can give.

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