The charm of Brett Haley’s All Together Now, which dropped on Netflix over the weekend, is how the narrative handles its young protagonists with care and realism. And in terms of the film’s few music numbers, the coming-of-age movie could have easily fallen into a trap of pulling audiences out of the film into music video-like moments featuring Disney princess Moana, Auli’i Cravalho, but it doesn’t. Cravalho gets her belt-out scene after we’ve already become wrapped up in her storyline and the performance itself comes off blissfully organic.
When speaking with Brett Haley ahead of All Together Now's release, he told us how he was able to capture such a raw moment for the adaptation of the Silver Linings Playbook author’s Sorta Like A Rockstar. Check out our discussion about the movie’s central song “Feels Like Home” below:
As Brett Haley told CinemaBlend during the interview, he approached his longtime collaborator, Keegan DeWitt, to write the song for the scene, with the direction to give “Feels Like Home” the specific intimate quality it needed to illustrate a significant loss Auli’i Cravalho’s Amber has gone through in the movie. DeWitt had already delivered, but Haley also cleverly brought in Cravalho to help them produce the song as well. It's no wonder it evokes coming straight from the actress’ heart when she sings it as Rhenzy Feliz’s Ty plays the song on the piano.
Brett Haley also noted that he particularly liked how the song was a storytelling device for the character of Amber herself, instead of, let’s say, a cover of a popular song already known to audiences before seeing the movie. In All Together Now, she’s preparing the song for an audition for Carnegie Mellon – an opportunity that becomes a battle considering it's on the other side of the country and she doesn’t even have a stable place to live.
The fact that Auli’i Cravalho was brought into the song-producing fold for All Together Now goes to show how talented the 19-year-old is on top of the standout performance she gives in the film. This is technically the actress’ first time leading a movie (without animation or it being a stage recording), and All Together Now is a worthy showcase of her abilities. You can listen to the full song below:
Keegan DeWitt and Brett Haley have notably collaborated on 2018’s Heart Beats Loud, which has Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman’s Sam and Frank Fisher forming a father-daughter duo in another emotional (and musically-infused) effort. The composer also does the scores for his films, including his early 2020 teen drama All The Bright Places. Haley is currently developing his passion project, a Grease prequel, and he also confirmed with us that it will be a “full-on” musical.
I’d guess Keegan DeWitt would come on board to write the songs as well considering their committed relationship as collaborators thus far, but we’ll have to wait and see – it's still in early phases of production. We’ll keep you updated here on CinemaBlend. Check out our review of All Together Now and stream the new movie on Netflix now.