Katie Holmes’ debut as a director, the mother-daughter story “All We Had,” will likely disappoint many fans of Annie Weatherwax’s popular book. The film, which premiered Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, lacks the depth and drama of the source material.
Holmes plays Rita, a drug addict and alcoholic who is trying to make a better life for her daughter, Ruthie (Stefania Owens). While the pair find themselves in circumstances that are mostly believable, the plot gets a bit boring.
Still, the film opens strong. It shows Rita balancing on a toilet bowl as Ruthie holds her up -- thus establishing the main theme of the film, that Ruthie needs her mother just as much as Rita needs her daughter. They are all they have. (Owens seems a perfect choice to play Holmes’ onscreen daughter.)
Later, the pair literally run away together in search of a better life. But their dreams are seemingly tarnished when they try to scam a diner and their car breaks down. Rita goes back to the owner, played by Richard Kind, to apologize. Instead of calling the police, he hires her out of pity, much to the chagrin of his niece, Pam (Eve Lindley).
Things get a little better for the mother-daughter team after they start working at the diner. They make friends with Marty and Pam, even though Rita urges Ruthie to never trust anyone. Then her new boyfriend, real estate agent Vic (Marc Consuelos), helps them get a house. But from there things get less interesting.
And the good times don’t last for long -- another theme of the film. Vic isn’t that great of a boyfriend and Ruthie dabbles in drugs and alcohol at her new school. It’s about this time that the audience wonders, is Ruthie going to turn into her mother?
While the film leaves the question about Ruthie’s future unanswered, one thing is certain: Ruthie physically changes into her mother. At the end, she is wearing her clothes and begins to put blue eyeliner on her bottom eyelid. But with Rita wearing one of Ruthie’s clips, the daughter might not be the only one who grows.
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