Let Them All Talk is a HBO Max comedy-drama directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen. The premise of Let Them All Talk revolves around author Alice Hughes (Streep) and her cruise to the United Kingdom (on the Queen Mary 2) to be presented with a prestigious book award. Alice invites two old friends Susan (Wiest) and Roberta (Bergen) along with her favourite nephew Tyler (Lucas Hedges) to accompany her.
The boat trip is the brainchild of her new literary agent Karen (Gemma Chan) who hopes to use the cruise to find out about the manuscript that Alice is currently working on. Unbeknown to Alice, Karen is also on the cruise and ropes in Tyler (who has a crush on her) to help her with her scheme. Roberta on her part agrees to tag along with an ulterior motive that will be revealed as the story unfolds.
Now, what is there to recommend Let Them All Talk with? Well, there’s Soderbergh, an esteemed film-maker who has amongst his credits such cinematic hits as Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion, Erin Brockovich and the like. Not to mention Streep, often described as the best actress of her generation, with a list of credits as long as her arm.
So why is Let Them All Talk ultimately an exercise in tedium? There is no plot or characterisation here that excites, entertains or enlightens at any time during its 113 minutes. Though billed as a comedy-drama, it is neither funny or dramatic. The screenplay – from Deborah Eisenberg – tries to develop tension between Alice and Roberta for past sins and also suggest a budding romance between Tyler and Karen but these possibilities never pan out whatsoever.
There is no depth in any of the characterisations either even amongst Alice, Roberta and Susan even though their relationship is at supposedly the core of the story. There is conflict hinted in the movie, between Alice and Roberta – of how the former used the life story of the latter in her most famous novel – without acknowledgement. But no details emerge about what actually transpired. It’s all much ado nothing. And you should have nothing to do with Let Them All Talk.
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