All the World Is Sleeping Review: A Beautiful & Difficult Character Study

If you’re a fan of character study films,  it seems like you have to wait a blue moon to get a  film of this caliber,  and even then it’s not guaranteed to be released in theaters.

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Because movies that focus on characters that are not known to the audiences are not the biggest box office successes,  major studios are often reluctant to give any major backing to these types of movies. Sometimes films like ‘All the World Is Sleeping’ could stay in development hell for years and as a result, studios will sit on movies such as this without any plan of releasing them.

This is a film that was originally shot back in the pandemic days of 2020 and was finished in 2021.  After getting its initial release during the New York Latino Film Festival,  there wasn’t a lot of activity for the film to be sold to a bidder leading to Gravitas Ventures to give the film a VOD release 2 years later.

Melissa Barrera has gained notoriety over the last couple of years being the star of the resurrected ‘Scream’ franchise as Billy Loomis’s biological daughter. Before that, the actress is known for being in numerous Mexican telenovelas and this film just so happens to be her first taste of being the lead actress of a movie.

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To be the emotional backbone of a standalone film, Barrera gives one of the best performances that is going to fly under the radar of any reputable committee. In the film, Melissa plays Chama, A young single mother living in New Mexico who was dealing with the harsh reality of being an opioid addict and raising a kid. 

Chama is desperately trying to get her life in order but her inner demons have grown to be too much as she is losing her battle with addiction. After an unfortunate relapse led to her hospitalization and child protective services moving her child from her household, Chama is given one last opportunity to clean up her act in hopes that the state will allow her to regain custody of her child. 

The events that take place turn out to be the toughest battle of her life as she is the only one she can rely on to finally defeat the dragon of drug use. One of the mandates of modern Hollywood when portraying women in films is to portray them as strong, challenging, and rarely put in positions where they have to overcome adversity. 

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Because ‘All the World Is Sleeping’ is not a major Hollywood release, this film does not play by those predetermined rules. This is an absolutely brutal take on the reality and struggle of an individual trying to get their life in order but can’t pull away from bad habits. 

Melissa Barrera is tasked with carrying the heavy lifting of the emotional threat of the film and she knocks it out of the park. Unlike her performances in the ‘Scream’ movies where her character is largely one-dimensional, Barrera takes the character of an everyday mother fighting the daily battle To keep going in life.

If you have seen the film ‘Requiem for a Dream’, you have great experience with watching the cinematic trail of drug addiction and its brutal effects.  This is a movie that comes out at a timely manner as the topic of opioid addiction is dominating public discussion with the wave of fitting all related drug deaths.

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Instead of portraying women as superheroes who can overcome anything, ‘All the World Is Sleeping’ sells brutal reality but more importantly, as a character study,  this is one of the best films released this year and it’s been on ice since 2021.

‘All the World Is Sleeping’ is a film that proves that Melissa Barbara has far more potential than the terrible Scream movies have presented her thus far.





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