Everything, Everything uses superficial emotional cues to make you think you’re watching something deep or profound when it’s really quite shallow.
Director: Stella Meghie
Summary: A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
The question “who was this made for?” is not a good one to be asking by the time the credits roll. If a movie doesn’t know who it is pitched at then it won’t know who to market to. Maybe that’s why you likely haven’t heard much about this teen romance movie. It starts off as one thing, a teen romance between a girl who can’t leave her house and her new neighbor, but ends on a pitch black plot twist that you can see coming a mile away that feels so out of place the juxtaposition is enough to give you whiplash. This is a movie that thinks it is making some deep comment about humanity and love when, in reality, it varies wildly between making no sense and being completely superficial.
The plot holes are big enough to drive a semi through and while they might not be deal breakers, when you’re not engaged enough to notice when little details aren’t adding up that says something damning about the movie. A character gets on a plane and you find yourself thinking about how they managed to do that when they have no form of ID; no one accepts reservations at hotels from teenagers without checking ID. At this point your viewer isn’t engaged enough to pay attention to the story. The romance story beats are all the ones we’ve seen a million times over in every Nicholas Sparks adaptation. The only original bone in the body of this feature is its twist ending and that just breaks the movie into two pieces that don’t fit together.
All of that being said it’s not insultingly bad. The two leads, Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) and Olly (Nick Robinson), are decent as our main characters. They play the Romeo and Juliet with the kind of sincerity that rings true to the mindset of teenagers. Of course they are in love, of course they are soulmates, because that’s how teenagers think. The entire world is all about extremes and the extremes of their relationship ring true in a teenager sort of way. Maddy’s mom (Anika Noni Rose) is also portrayed very much as the control freak type of mom that would naturally come with a clinically ill child. She has to go to some pretty dark places and Rose pulls it off decently. The cinematography is also well done with text conversations between Maddy and Olly shown as the two of them talking about the model displays that Maddy builds.
Everything, Everything might appeal to the target audience of teens but the twist at the end feels like it could be enough to draw them away. It doesn’t fit with the other 75% of the movie and likely should have been left out. It attempts to be a tearjerker but, in the end, is just forgettable.
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