The new film All I See Is You boasts one of the more intriguing plots to come along in some time. In it, a happily married blind woman played by Blake Lively has her sight restored, and her marriage slowly begins to crumble as the lives of her and her husband are changed and feelings of jealousy come to the fore. It certainly seems like something that could actually happen in real life, but did it? Is All I See Is You a true story, or is it completely made up?
It's not true. The film is a complete work of fiction; a psychological thriller co-written by director Marc Forster and screenwriter Sean Conway. Forster is known for directing such diverse films as World War Z, Quantum of Solace, Stranger than Fiction, Finding Neverland, and the Best Picture Oscar-winning Monster's Ball, but All I See Is You is his first writing credit since 2000's Everything Put Together. It's also just the second feature screenwriting credit for Conway, who previously penned 2010's The Orgasm Diaries, though he does have a fair amount of experience as a television writer on shows such as Ray Donovan, Hit & Miss, and Shameless. So where did they come up with this original idea for a film?
In an interview with The 405's Wess Haubrich, Forster said the following when asked about his initial inspiration behind the story, admitting that the nature of relationships were his biggest influence:
"I think, in general in relationships — especially obsessive, co-dependent relationships — a lot of things stay unanswered. It's only often in movies where you get to see how they answered things. I find that fascinating because, you know, I grew up in Bavaria (in a sort of 'emotionally repressed' century), my parents were not the most talkative people. I think people often realize far too late in a relationship that it's far too late to rescue it — that the relationship is really over. Often people stay in relationships — very co-dependent, sometimes abusive relationships — and wonder why. I think it is often because they are too fearful to leave. They don't know what they don't know — they are too scared — and so many things come together and it's always so complex. Examining that was just fascinating and something I wanted to dive into."
When similarities between the two films was pointed out by Haubrich, Forster also admitted that the 1944 film Gaslight — about a newly married woman who begins to suspect her husband isn't the person she thought he was — may have been an unconscious inspiration on All I See Is You. "I definitely always loved Gaslight, it’s a great film," he said. "Now that you mention it, maybe it was an influence in the back of my mind."
In the 405 interview, the writer/director also described his desire to show the audience what life is like for a blind person — a technique used in the film before Lively regains her sight — but this development came after he already had the story figured out, and wasn't his main motivation in creating the movie. "No, the idea for the story and the characters came first," Forster said when asked by Haubrich if his blind POV idea came to him before he had the story. "My interest was always that painterly aspect but once I found the characters, we really started working on the story. Writing the characters first, and once we had that, we went to the question of, 'how does this visually all connect?'"
All I See Is You isn't based on a true story, but rather seems to have been influenced by a combination of things: How relationships ebb and flow in real life, what the world looks like through the eyes of someone with impaired vision, and possibly even a thriller from the 1940s. All of these diverse inspirations add up to one unique and original film from director Marc Forster.