Tribeca 2024 Review: ALL THAT WE LOVE, Kindhearted and Relatable Dramedy About the Art of Letting Go

Directed by Yen Tan, the film stars Margaret Cho, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kenneth Choi, Alice Lee, Atsuko Okatsuka, Missi Pyle, and Devon Bostick.

Contributing Writer
Tribeca 2024 Review: ALL THAT WE LOVE, Kindhearted and Relatable Dramedy About the Art of Letting Go

In the very first minutes of the film, Emma (Margaret Cho) loses her beloved pet and companion, Tanner.

The heaviness of her loss which will continue to be explored throughout the film, is somewhat subdued in the next scene where Emma tries to take a “sexy motherfucker” pic of her best friend Stan (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) for his profile, the whole sequence setting up the bittersweet tone for the rest of the film.

At work, Emma is also in for some surprises, as her longtime colleague (Missi Pile) has an apparent change of heart about her career; and Emma’s daughter Maggie (Alice Lee) delivers a blow of her own, going away to Australia for an unspecified amount of time with her boyfriend. In the midst of all the grief and change, Emma unexpectedly finds some grounding in the presence of her ex-husband Andy (Kenneth Choi).

Andy is back in town from Singapore, where he'd headed off after leaving his family years ago; he is sober and willing to make amends. This potential reconciliation doesn’t sit well with Stan, who is actually trying to move on after a terrible loss of his own, and is worried his friend is about to get hurt again. Basically, everyone is moving on as best as they know how. Here’s the thing though: they really don’t.

Yen Tan’s new film All That We Love, which is making its debut at Tribeca, is a familiar story – and that is not a bad thing. On the contrary, the film’s relatability is its strength, as it allows it to infallibly connect with the audience.

Just as in another movie playing at the festival, Delaney Buffett’s Adult Best Friends, Tan’s film deals with the acceptance of the change, only it does so involving characters who are at a decidedly different point in their lives. Even though Maggie's storyline about the separation from her overly protective mother is important here too, it’s the fact that the three main characters are older that gives the story its mood, which is both dramatic and funny. Those are the people who already made some choices, right and wrong, who lived and survived though stuff, making their present turmoil even more resonant.

The core trio of characters all tend to navigate towards the easiest pattern in a very relatable fashion – as it seems easier, for example, to fall back with a former partner than really explore why it hasn’t worked the first time around. Kenneth Choi and Jesse Tyler Ferguson do a tremendous job in their respective roles without overdoing it or leaning too much into outright comedy.

But in the heart of it all is Margaret Cho (who can be seen in another film at the festival, Zao Wang’s short A Family Guide to Hunting). She really allows herself be vulnerable as Emma, and it's a nuanced, grounded performance that elevates the story. 

The film’s overall tone, despite the death, the changes and the talk of cancer, remains mostly light. When the going’s get too tough, the authors are quick to offer something to damp down the pathos: a sexy pic, a talk of shit, some karaoke singing or a character taking a piss in the aftermath of an emotional throwdown.

Once again, it would be easy to criticize the authors for not making the most original choices with the narrative. Then again, we see the variations of this story happen in real life, and, honestly, so far there hasn't been anything invented more innovative to say on the matter, apart from acknowledging our profound need for (not necessarily human) connection and the art of letting it go when it’s no longer available. 

The film enjoys its world premiere at the 2024 Tribeca Festival. 

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Alice LeeAtsuko OkatsukaDevon BostickJesse Tyler FergusonKenneth ChoiMargaret ChoMissi PyleTribeca 2024Tribeca FestivalYen Tan

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