There are so few movies that we watch as a family that are wholesome, entertaining and an all around good story with a good message. These are the kinds of movies that we love watching with our kids. These are the kinds of movies that make a really fun family movie night. When I find something like this whether it’s a movie, show, book, podcast, etc., I feel like it’s my duty as a fellow parent to share those things with you. All Together Now from Netflix Films is one of those movies.
All Together Now from Netflix Film
Amber, an optimistic, incredibly talented and caring teen, is so used to helping everyone else, taking care of herself last and harboring a huge secret. When Amber finally does need assistance, she finds it very hard to accept a helping hand. Amber is so inherently good and likable that you find yourself rooting for her the entire time. We want Amber to win. The movie stars Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Justina Machado, Carol Burnett, Fred Armisen, among others and is directed by Brett Haley.
What I particularly love about the story is how Amber kept her optimistic spirit throughout everything life through at her. She is musically gifted and wants to attend Carnegie Mellon. When she gets her dream audition, life gets in the way. We see Amber go through a very challenging period in life where she balances life, work, secrets and everything else that might hold a teen’s interest. She manages to find strength to pursue her dreams by leaning on those she’s helped for so long.
We had the opportunity to chat with director/screenwriter Brett Haley and Auli’i Cravalho (of Moana fame). We got to ask all kinds of questions about the movie.
Director Brett Haley on working with the legendary Carol Burnett
I just had to ask about Carol Burnett and how she came to be in the movie. I hadn’t seen Carol in anything recently so I was ridiculously excited to see her in the movie. She played a grumpy octogenarian living in a nursing home where Amber works. Director/Screenwriter Brett Haley said about Carol, “Well, Carol Burnett is… you would think she would be amazing to work with, she’s even better than that. Auli’i and I were very intimidated and starstruck by Carol. I remember we went to her hotel to meet her and we were like you know giddy kids like meeting and she was so kind and warm and lovely we sat and this lovely chat with her. We were just so overwhelmed by her spirit, her generosity and obviously her talent.”
Auli’i shares how she connected with her character Amber
“I love Amber. I thought that she had a lot of hope and resilience, and I love that her story had hardships, it had difficulties, but her circumstances didn’t hold her back from her dreams and her aspirations so that is my I love the musical element in this.”
Director Brett Haley on channeling pain/real life experiences for the characters they play: “I like to remind people that the bad that happens in life we can make good out of it, the whole lemons into lemonade we can. We all have our own ability to turn a bad situation into a good one and that is the only thing we can do sometimes when we go through this thing called life and it’s difficult, and we are lacking. It’s like we can turn it around, we can. We are resilient.”
See the All Together Now Trailer
All Together Now Reviews
There is a particular skill in presenting a character who is nearly flawless without turning her into a staid saint. In Brett Haley’s sweet and scrappy teen Netflix drama “All Together Now,” Amber Appleton (Auliʻi Cravalho) checks so many boxes of trait perfection…Haley’s directing has a gentility, and Cravalho (who was introduced to movie audiences as the title voice in Disney’s “Moana”) gives Amber a visceral humanity that elevates the intermittently uneven screenplay….Through turmoil, Amber shares poetry with her mother and sings music her late father wrote…When Cravalho sings in the movie, her star presence is hard to ignore. She performs as if her full-of-hope heart might burst, cementing her magnetism as a performer. The movie’s familiar suggestion of music as a light in the darkness works primarily because its star shines so brightly.~ New York Times
This heartwarming tale is held together by a strong central performance from Hawaiian-born actress Cravalho. The film touches on the very real issue of teens being unhoused, but not in a didactic way. In fact, Cravalho (best known as the voice of Moana) infuses Amber with such energy as a well-adjusted, cheerful, and kind young woman, despite her hardships, that you can’t help liking her. The film and Cravalho do a crafty job pulling you in so that you’re invested when things take a turn for the worse. ~ Common Sense Media
Amber Appleton (Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho), a high schooler trying to follow her dreams despite the familial setbacks she is hiding. To the outside world, Amber is the kind of teen girl who can juggle it all: her busy drama club, an after school job, volunteer work at the local retirement home, and even her singing aspirations. What Amber’s friends don’t know, however, is that she and her hardworking single mom Becky (One Day at a Time’s Justina Machado) have the kind of financial struggles that sometimes leave them sleeping in an empty school bus. All Together is a serious film, but also a heartwarming one. Everyone deserves to witness the stellar performances of stars Auli’i Cravalho and Justina Machado. ~ Refinery 29
Check out this movie tonight. In fact, why not make it a fun family movie night and watch All Together Now on Netflix? Premieres August 28, 2020.