Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Everything, Everything: Movie Review

Romance carries the movie everything else sinks it.

Everything, Everything wants to be both everything and nothing at the same time, and that doesn’t work. On one hand it looks like it wants to be an edgy, surreal, quirky film - at that it fails. At other times, all it's trying to be is a straight-forward teen romantic drama and it definitely succeeds at that. The story is straight out of The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, source material that is more fantasy than reality, and this adaptation from a young-adult novel isn't any more convincing. 2017

Directed by: Stella Meghie

Screenplay by: J. Mills Goodloe
Based on the book by Nicola Yoon

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson

Maddie suffers from a rare immune deficiency disorder and could die if she ever sets foot outside. She also narrates all of this to you. A screenwriter’s cheat of using narration to relay everything the audience should know is overly used, especially at the beginning. The film does much better as it goes along, but having Maddie talk to the audience rather than connecting with us through her actions keeps us a bit removed from the main character; an issue that Amandla Stenberg does her best to overcome.

Nick Robinson as Olly on the hand wins over the audience the second he is on the screen. He doesn’t have any dialogue at the beginning, and he does even better with just his looks and inquisitive and caring eyes. What Robinson and Olly do is get the audience to care about him, care about Maddie and care about his and Maddie’s budding relationship. And that is the heart of this movie. Not just their romantic relationship but their friendship is really compelling. It’s enough to carry the movie and keep the audience invested despite the thin and poorly conceived story.

There are a lot of little issues with Everything, Everything. Her disease only allows her to wear white, cotton t-shirts, and yet jeans are fine. I’m assuming the required wardrobe is to show off her physical assets. She has never left the house since she was a baby and yet she somehow has a photo ID card – it definitely wouldn’t be a driver’s license or passport or student card, so who knows what it is or how she got it. It’s things like that you just have to ignore.

The more cynical audience members, even if able to ignore the minor inconsistencies, probably won’t get fooled by the main sub-plot - the relationship between mother and daughter. There are numerous clues throughout the film that the relationship between Maddie and her mother is not particularly stable. The film holds on a bit too long before the big reveal, but for those completely invested in the romance side of the story could find this an interesting turn in the story.

My fellow, primarily female, audience members really enjoyed this movie. The romantic relationship is really well portrayed by young, hot stars Amandla Stenberg and particularly Nick Robinson. The rest of the movie around their relationship is very problematic. The romantics at heart will probably enjoy it, the cynics not so much.

What About Something Similar:

Paper Towns

If I Stay