(director/writer: Aimee Graham; cinematographer: Marcin Banasiak; editors: Zachary Weintraub, Aimee Graham; music: Max Loh; cast: Owen Beckman (Terence), Gretchen Lodge (Belle), David Koechner (Bruce, Terence’s father), Tommy Tiny Lister (Preston), James Russo (Walter), Jilon VanOver (Drake), Justine Bateman (Prof. Penn), Naomi Grossman (Passenger Ava), Sylva Kelegian (Vicky), Ski Carr (Tony), Alexandra Kenworthy (Judy); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Aimee Graham, W. Chris Brown, Ken Morris, John Thomas Swartz; Underground Films/Cinequest/Prime Video; 2023)

“Shot at a fast pace and with actors who make a believable love connection.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Aimee Graham is an actress, short film director and producer. In her debut as a feature film director, presents this tense dramedy about two lost souls who are opposites that eventually become attracted to each other after meeting under dire circumstances and having an adventure together.

“The Allnighter” takes longer than that for its story to be told.

The brainy nice guy Terence (Owen Beckman) is on track to get a Ph.D in astrophysics. He lives in the shadow of his celebrity brother, who ignores their mother’s (Sylva Kelegian) serious gambling addiction and cries for money. Terence can’t ignore her cries, and when she calls late at night in desperation and begs for money to pay off a gambling debt or risk being harmed by the lone sharks she’s indebted to, the good son thereby drives to a pawn shop to pawn his $500 piece of astronomy equipment. When he leaves after taking less money than he wanted, he finds his car has been stolen along with his laptop containing his only copy of research that potentially can change the way we think about galaxies. At this time Belle (Gretchen Lodge), the clerk in the pawn shop, is fired by her money-hungry boss for siding with the customer instead of with him. As Belle and Terence meet outside the pawn shop, she informs him her sponsor, Preston (Tommy Tiny Lister), stole the car.

Belle is eager to show her disappointed parents that she’s on the right path and tells the confused Terence if he rides with her to the desert to meet her parents and confirms that they’re engaged, she will retrieve his research material before its due date.

It’s a high-energy film shot at a fast pace and with actors who make a believable love connection.

REVIEWED ON 10/29/2023  GRADE: B-