The concept of this movie intrigued me. How can a girl who can never leave her house manage a romance with the boy next door? I’ve seen movies before where a sick person is kept isolated and really wondered what new idea or twist the writers could bring to this story. While the romance is very straight forward, the depiction of the young woman’s illness is interesting and added an engaging twist to the genre. It was sweet, funny and I enjoyed it.
“Everything, Everything” based on a novel by Nicola Yoon, tells the story of 18-year-old Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) who suffers from an autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house or interacting with others. Her only contacts are her mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose) who is a doctor and the nurse who cares for her, Carla (Ana de la Reguera). Maddy compares her life to being like an astronaut, stranded in space and not having anyone to talk to. Then, a young man named Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door and everything changes.Olly’s room faces Maddy’s so the two of them get to know each other as Olly plays jokes and they talk via text messages and internet. As their relationship develops, Maddy desires closer contact and convinces her nurse to allow Olly to visit her as long as they don’t touch. Eventually, the two become physical, their emotions drawing them closer. One day, Maddy sees Nick’s father attack him through the security camera and races outside to rescue him, immediately getting sick afterwards. This leads to her mother discovering the relationship and she fires Carla for facilitating the relationship. Frustrated, Maddy realizes there is more to the world and she comes up with a plan, willing to risk everything to have a real life with Olly.
While this is romance, what drives this film is the drama surrounding Maddy’s illness. I guessed part of the mystery from the trailer but the writers were good enough to make me question the ending. Not only does the writing keep you guessing as to what is going to happen to Maddy when she leaves her safe environment but the explanation of the illness as well as her interactions are realistically portrayed. The illness depicted in the movie is a real one and the writers do a great job not only of conveying what the illness is but doing it so that viewers won’t be bored.
Another element that kept me enjoying the film was the filmography. At the beginning of the film, Maddy and Olly get to know each other via text. The filmmakers chose to depict this by creating scenes where Maddy visualizes Olly in the same room with her as their words are typed across the screen. Eventually, the typed words are changed to spoken words. Maddy’s imagination places them in the different models that she creates for an architecture course, such as a diner and a library and the vividness of the scenes is part of what makes the movie dynamic. There is even an astronaut that she places in each scene that comes to life during her interactions with Olly, creating humor to lighten their discussions.
The acting is sweet and funny. Both Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson do a great job with acting awkward as they meet for the first time, lip biting and fidgeting on the actor’s part showing nervousness to the audience. There is a sweet chemistry between the two that is really appropriate for the ages they are portraying. Their performances are realistic and the romance between the two is believable. I can believe they fall in love and I can also believe that there are issues with that relationship due to Maddy’s illness.
As I stated, the romance is straight forward. There is no real surprise that the two begin a relationship and nothing surprising about them falling in love. The mystery was all surrounding Maddy’s illness and how that affected them even being able to have a romance. Much of the movie was predictable as a romance has to follow particular patterns in order to work in a story. I did predict the pair running away together. But this much I will say, when I expected it to be a standard romance, that is exactly when the writers changed things up and focused on Maddy’s illness, bringing an unexpected twist to the story and creating a truly interesting ending to the movie.
There is a discrepancy in Maddy and Olly’s flight to Hawaii. Ever since 9/11, if you want to board a plane, you have to have identification and it does seem strange that Maddy would have that identification since she was confined to her house. However, that scene flies by and if you ignore it, it does allow the story to flow forward smoothly.
If you are a teenager or college aged, I think this would be an excellent date night film with an unexpected twist and a believable story. The romance is endearing and the actors depict that well. The filmography is intriguing and I thought the bit with the astronaut was amusing. All in all, I enjoyed it, especially the mystery surrounding Maddy’s illness.
What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face… or kiss the boy next door? “Everything, Everything” tells the unlikely love story of Maddy, a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly, the boy next door who won’t let that stop them. Maddy is desperate to experience the much more stimulating outside world, and the promise of her first romance. Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, she and Olly form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together…even if it means losing everything.
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera, Anika Noni Rose
Directed by: Stella Meghie
Screenplay by: J. Mills Goodloe
Based on the bestselling book by Nicola Yoon