All Those Small Things is about Jonathan Robbins (James Faulkner), a successful British Game show host who is celebrating 40 years on the air and a brand new contract. Having achieved all he thought possible, Jonathan basks in the limelight and enjoys his comfortable celebrity status. However, in light of his wild success, Jonathan has become estranged from friends he had long before his days of TV hosting. When his best friend Henry passes away, Jonathan misses the funeral due to other commitments. Hit by the weight of his old friend’s passing, Jonathan is shaken to the core and left contemplating his place in the universe.
Writer/director Andrew Hyatt’s film follows Jonathan on an existential quest for meaning. After reading a fan letter from Alice (Gloria Laino), whom he believes to be a young child, he is overcome with a new sense of purpose and travels to Washington in hopes of meeting the child he inspired. Through his adventures in Washington, Jonathan roommates with a hip-hop mogul, Tiny Hammer (Aaron Dalla Villa), connects to bartender Ruby (Kerry Knuppe) and begins to cherish the little moments that make life worth living.
“…[Jonathan] travels to Washington in hopes of meeting the child he inspired.”
All Those Small Things is abundantly sweet, pretty much from start to finish. If you go in with minimal cynicism and are looking for something heartwarming, you will enjoy the drama. The give-and-take friendship between Jonathan and Ruby is well-explored. Faulkner does an excellent job as the stoic game show host, while Knuppe plays the selfless caregiver without ever falling into a “manic pixie dream-girl” cliche. The two actors have great chemistry and, it punctuates every scene they share.
Despite all the tender feelings, the film does have a glaring problem with tone. It is most abundantly clear with Jonathan’s rapping roommate, Tiny Hammer. By all means, Jonathan can learn several important life lessons from a young millionaire rapper, and by no means am I suggesting he be taken out. But rewritten to scale back his over-the-topness? Absolutely! The majority of moments with Tiny are played for awkward laughs and undercut vital character-building moments. If the character were reworked or even featured a redemption arc similar to Jonathan, the narrative would flow much smoother.
The film has its missteps, but I cannot pretend like Jonathan’s moment of clarity or him visiting his late friend’s grave did not touch me, which is ultimately the goal of a Walter Mitty, change-my-life kind of film (though Walter Mitty seemed to have more adventure). I was not into Tiny Hammer, but I was sold on Jonathan’s transformation, and that is what really counts. All Those Small Things is an uplifting film about finding your place in the world. If your a fan of the genre or want to see a solid James Faulkner performance outside of Westeros, this is a solid watch.
"…Faulkner does an excellent job..."