Everything, Everything Movie Review

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There are three reviews coming this week, and the first one we’re going to talk about is one that I wasn’t too seriously excited to see. I guess I’m just getting sick of the YA book-to-film adaptations. They’re all far too predictable because they’re all the same, yet somehow they make boat loads of money, so we’re probably going to see one after another land in theaters no matter how many bad ones we get. If you’re excited to see this movie or you loved the book, more power to you, but the minute I heard this premise I could draw a few conclusions as to how I assumed that the story would end. Anyways, let’s talk about Everything, Everything!

Everything, Everything is directed by Stella Meghie and stars Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson. Maddy, played by Stenberg, has lived her entire life inside the confines of a technologically advanced and sterile house after finding out that she has a rare disease that causes her cells to be unable to fight bacteria and allergens. Only three people in the entire world know that she exists, but that changes when a brand new boy named Olly, played by Robinson, moves in next door. They fall for each other, but given Maddy’s disease it’s difficult for them to be together. They both must risk everything if they want to see their love through.

First of all, as I hope to with all romantic movies, I was at least slightly involved in the relationship between the two characters. I found some good character development in the pair, and I saw what drew them to each other. For Maddy, I can only imagine what it must be like to have to sit inside for your entire life and never be able to interact face-to-face with someone who has something in common with you. After 18 years of the same thing every day, I understand why she was fed up with her loneliness, and she felt the need to explore the world through the first boy who had ever made her feel like she mattered to the outside world. For Olly, he’s not exactly the most popular guy in school, mostly because he can’t stay at a single school for very long due to issues in his family. He finally has this person who cares deeply about him, and the thought that he couldn’t have her just because life has put immovable obstacles in their way gave his side of the relationship depth. I also think that both leads gave pretty good performances. Nick Robinson proved that he has some charisma, and I found his character likable. He’s a little bit too smooth sometimes, but if you put yourself in the right mindset to watch this movie then it’s forgivable. Finally, this is a good-looking movie. As you can probably imagine, a good chunk of the film takes place inside, but I thought that they did a good job of lighting shots and making Maddy’s house look livable. If I’m going to live in a house for 18 years without leaving, I’d want it to be a paradise, and this house gives Maddy bright light filled with bright blues and yellows that give us a happy and hopeful feel. Even most shots that could very easily have been stock footage appear to have been shot with the same care that the critical points of the story were shot with. There are many key moments where communication takes place in settings that Maddy has created, and I think that was a clever way to put us, the audience, in her world through production design and direction.

For me, the negatives far outweigh the positives of the movie. I mentioned that pieces of this puzzle take the right mindset. If you have zero intentions of analyzing choices in this film, I implore you to walk in with an empty mind ready to accept everything that happens as sweet and good intentioned. If you don’t, you’ll probably find the main source of the negatives in the logistics of the storytelling. If you tend to walk out of movies wondering how 18-year-old girls with zero income or credit history get credit cards without anybody knowing or having any intentions of paying the money back, Everything, Everything may not be for you. Each plot point is very convenient, and the movie asks you to suspend a lot of your reservations for how the financial and technological world works. It also suffers from a lot of choppy and jarring editing. It will take you from setting to setting or scene to scene without any rhyme or reason, and often times I found myself wondering how and when we arrived at our current destination. Again, it asks you to roll with the punches just because the story is sweet. Finally, I have a few story problems that don’t have to do with the obvious logistical holes. It’s very exposition-heavy, and none of the reveals worked for me. There may be an ever-so-minor spoiler in this next sentence, but if you didn’t expect this to happen from the premise then you must have expected a complete snoozefest. When Maddy finally goes outside, I never felt that sense of wonder or exploration that she should have when exploring a new place. She never experiences that blissful moment when you step outside and get natural light and air. She walks outside and is automatically okay with her surroundings and state. There is also a big story reveal that just didn’t work for me from a dramatic standpoint and a conflict standpoint. I appreciated a certain control of conflict the story demonstrated until this reveal, but it all went out the window.

Overall, Everything, Everything hit me with a few unexpected notes from a storytelling standpoint, but I actually didn’t like the unexpected direction it went. Yes, I cared slightly about the relationship, but it’s not a “Noah and Allie” level of caring, which, to me, is the ultimate level of caring about a romantic relationship in a film. I think that this movie could be a decent Netflix watch that you could put on late at night if you’re looking for a romantic movie. You can flick your brain off and give it a shot because it’s sweet and has good intentions. The problem is that sweetness and good intentions don’t make a story that’s able to throw logistics out the window. Use your heart and you might enjoy Everything, Everything. Use your brain and you’ll find gaping holes. I’m going to give Everything, Everything a 4/10.

Will you be seeing Everything, Everything? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

About Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm

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