This heartwarming tale is held together by a strong central performance from Hawaiian-born actress Cravalho. The film touches on the very real issue of teens being unhoused, but not in a didactic way. In fact, Cravalho (best known as the voice of Moana) infuses Amber with such energy as a well-adjusted, cheerful, and kind young woman, despite her hardships, that you can't help liking her.
The film and Cravalho do a crafty job pulling you in so that you're invested when things take a turn for the worse, which they definitively do in this story based on the YA novel Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick, who also wrote The Silver Linings Playbook.
Some audiences will be drawn to All Together Now by the high-profile supporting actors, namely Carol Burnett and Fred Armisen. Neither has an especially standout role, and Armisen in particular feels under-used. The iconic city of Portland, Oregon, is also under-exploited as the setting.
Two other recent releases come to mind as making more of their Pacific Northwest backgrounds: Netflix's drizzly Washington-set The Half of It and Disney's quirky Portland-set Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Lyrics on the soulful soundtrack notably echo the storyline.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.