All the Light in the Sky Screen 5 articles

All the Light in the Sky

2012

All the Light in the Sky Poster
  • This sublimation of internal pain through the seductions of external life may in fact be the American experience tout court, and the California experience even more so. Swanberg's beautifully shot film captures this dynamic without paying much attention to what it's doing. The little that happens can sometimes lack the gravitas that should undergird the naturalism that the dialogue, the acting, and the sometimes-iPhone aesthetics aim toward.

  • Adams (one of the secret heroines of the recent cinema) and Takal—aided by nimble cohorts, including Larry Fessenden, Kent Osborne, Lindsay Burdge, and Ti West—bring a calm, focussed urgency to every chat and tussle. With his solar measurements and celestial allusions, the real-life environmental entrepreneur David Siskind gives the drama a cosmic context, and Swanberg—who is also the cinematographer—makes luminous images to match.

  • Swanberg’s drama allergy makes smaller works like this one something of an acquired taste; it’s also what makes them interesting. Swanberg served as All The Light In The Sky’s only crew member, which results in a completely unaffected, on-the-fly vibe that makes it impossible to distinguish between what (if anything) is scripted and what’s more or less documentary.

  • Adams is at once desperate, sympathetic, and compulsively watchable—that Marie doesn’t come off as a disaster speaks to the nuance of the performance and the humanism of the film as a whole... All the Light in the Sky strongly evokes a sense of life as an accumulation of petty impasses and anxious anticipation of major events (if they come at all).

  • Part of me wants to give most of the credit to Jane Adams, who co-wrote the screenplay and gives an exquisitely relaxed performance in the lead role, demonstrating how to be credibly awkward and human without someone like Solondz forcing you to cross the line into downright pathetic. But there's an unmistakable intelligence at work in the film's compositions, rhythm and tone, all of which are calibrated with admirable precision.

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