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Dan's Review: Nothing special about "Everything, Everything"

May 19, 2017 01:56AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson in Everything, Everything - © 2017 Warner Bros.

Everything, Everything (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality.

Starring Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera, Morgan Saylor.

Written by J. Mills Goodloe, based on the novel by Nicola Yoon.

Directed by Stella Meghie.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:

There’s nothing more dramatic than teen drama. Maybe that’s why there are so many young adult romance drama books being published, with subsequent film adaptations in the mix. Teen tears sell, and the latest YA novel to get the big screen treatment is Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything.

Amandla Stenberg stars as Maddy, a teen girl trapped inside her own sterile home by her mother (Anika Noni Rose) who happens to be a doctor. Maddy apparently suffers from a condidtion known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) which in layman’s terms means she’s susceptible to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections and could die from the slightest contact to the outside world. Right around her 18th birthday, a cute boy named Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door with his family, and takes notice of Maddy. Despite being insulated from any real contact, Olly and Maddy strike up a romance usinf text messages and the Internet. Maddy’s nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) has pity on the kids and their budding relationship, and arranges for Olly to meet face to face. When Maddy runs out of the house to intervene as Olly’s dad hits him, her mother forbids her from ever seeing him again. Maddy reaches her breaking point and convinces Olly to run away with her to Hawaii (after secretly obtaining a credit card). The pair experience romance in paradise, swimming in the ocean and living life to its fullest extent. All seems well until Maddy gets really sick, ending up in a hospital. She eventually awakens back at home in Los Angeles, alone again in her seclusion. Olly tries to make contact, but Maddy is too heartbroken and pushes him away. Soon, Maddy makes an important discovery about her condition and her mother, and must decide whether to risk everything and seek out Olly, or remain in seclusion. 

Everything, Everything is sweet at times, but entirely implausible as a story. The conflict of the narrative is forced and trite, as if fantasized by a teen seeking a little drama in what should be an otherwise mundane romance with the boy next door. There aren’t many lessons learned, except the rather obvious “love is worth the risk” message, even if most teens are immune to knowing the difference between infatuation/hormones and “true love.”

The movie’s only saving grace is the chemistry between Stenberg and Robinson, who maneuver through the sappy dialogue and corny conflict with as much grace as possible.

Sure, I may be a jaded old guy, and perhaps Everything, Everything is perfect for youngsters seeking romance on date night, but years later, they might look back and remember their teen romances as fleeting, fun encounters.

They may not remember seeing Everything, Everything, as they yell at the neighborhood kids to keep off their lawns.


Everything, Everything Trailer

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