Movie Review: All Is Well (2015)

AllIsWellZero Stars (out of 4)

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Few movies have angered me as much as All Is Well. It’s cruel and offensive, making light of human suffering for the sake of an easy moral lesson.

This is a huge surprise given that Umesh Shukla is behind the camera. The last film he directed (and co-wrote) — 2012’s OMG: Oh My God — is funny, understanding, and generous of spirit. Then again, Shukla also directed 2009’s Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, a rip-off of The Producers that I also described as offensive. Maybe OMG was the aberration, and All Is Well is Shukla showing his true colors again.

All Is Well fancies itself a comedy about a bickering father and son, played by Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, respectively. When Bhalla (Kapoor) isn’t losing money via his unpopular bakery, he’s yelling at his wife Pammi (Supriya Pathak) and son Inder (Bachchan).

Growing up in such a hostile environment turns Inder into a complete misanthrope. After having been kicked out of the house for calling his dad a loser, he’s spent ten years in Bangkok, avoiding his parents and struggling as a musician.

Inder’s misanthropy is most acutely directed at Nimmi (Asin Thottumkal), a brain-dead chatterbox who is in love with him. Nimmi is so oblivious that she can’t recognize Inder’s contempt for her. Her arranged marriage subplot is shoddily tacked on to the main story, in which Inder is tricked into coming home to settle his father’s debts. Everyone is an unrepentant jerk throughout, and few cinematic “happy endings” have felt less earned.

All Is Well does wrong by so many people. Dwarfs and people with dark complexions are the butt of needless, hurtful jokes. The movie — written by Sumit Arora and Niren Bhatt — has no respect for women, hence why Nimmi is portrayed as a total dumbass, desperate to marry.

No character suffers as much as Pammi, who is a human plot device. Inder returns to India to find his mother in an “old folks home” suffering from Alzheimer’s. (Note that Pathak is only 54.) The movie makes the following untrue claims about Alzheimer’s, all in the name of moving the story forward:

  • The progression of Alzheimer’s can be stalled if you keep the patient happy at all times.
  • Alzheimer’s is caused by familial neglect, somewhat on the part of one’s spouse, but mostly due to neglect by one’s children.
  • Alzheimer’s can be improved, if not outright cured, if said neglectful children move back in with their parents.

I haven’t mentioned it at this website, but earlier this year, my mother died in her mid-sixties after suffering for five years with a degenerative neurological condition. Not Alzheimer’s, but another incapacitating disease with no specific cause and with a similarly slow decline (both mental and physical) and grim prognosis.

It’s hard to watch a parent undergo such hardship without any hope of a cure and without anyone to blame for it. There was no accident, no source of infection. There was no one to yell at, no one to sue — not that it would have helped. She was predisposed to get sick, she did, and it was horrible.

So, for Umesh Shukla, Sumit Arora, and Niren Bhatt to imply that someone like my mom might suffer a terrible death because her kids didn’t pay enough attention to her is bullshit. It’s offensive, and it’s mean.

To make light of such a dreadful condition for the sake of a comedy film is beyond callous. Pammi might as well be just another prop, the way she’s shuffled from car to house, forced into a situation she can’t possibly understand. She utters only a handful of words, which is a tremendous waste of an actress of Pathak’s caliber.

There’s no reason to see All Is Well. None. Something this hateful shouldn’t be rewarded.


18 thoughts on “Movie Review: All Is Well (2015)

  1. Parth

    Hey Kathy,

    I am really really sorry about your mother. Losing a dear one is very painful. I’m sorry.

  2. Salim

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Kathy. Please accept my condolences. May her soul rest in peace.

  3. shrey

    So sorry to hear about your mother, Kathy… Just on a cheerful note, I guess now I know why you loved Piku so much… 🙂

  4. JustMeMike

    Sorry to hear about your loss Kathy. I wasn’t planning to see this (based on the trailer) – but now…. I feel — at a loss to find out that this feel was not only bad, but bad for you on a personal level. Hoping you will have an opportuntiy for a positive review next time out.

    1. Kathy

      Thanks for the kind words, Mike. All Is Well was a very unpleasant surprise. Fortunately, Phantom looks like it could be pretty exciting, so I’m looking forward to next weekend.

  5. Bhavika

    Sorry to hear about your mother! Also, it’s such a shame that this film is so awful because it didn’t look too bad in the songs/trailer. Ah, just mostly been hearing very negative things about this film but never knew their facts on Alzheimers were THAT incorrect. All they had to do was research…

    1. Kathy

      Thanks, Bhavika. I’m used to Bollywood filmmakers taking liberties with medical advice — Rowdy Rathore is a funny example of it — but implying that children are responsible for causing Alzheimer’s in the parents is mean and irresponsible.

      1. Bhavika

        Oh yeah I noticed them in that movie. I sort of just enjoyed Rowdy Rathore as a ‘masala’ film though so I mostly ignored incorrect portrayals of medical advice. I mean, it was a larger than life film. All Is Well sounded as if it was going to be a real family film so really disappointed in what they have done. That’s not a good thing to put into parents’ minds when watching the film :/

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