Movie Review: “Everything, Everything” – Quirky But Lacking

Written by Caitlin Cooper June 02, 2017

everything, everything

This summer’s teen romance film is officially here, and like a lot of its predecessor’s it’s adapted from a book. Everything, Everything is another tale of star-crossed lovers who face serious illness. It’s also a coming-of-age story. When I read the book a couple years ago, I really enjoyed its illustrations and quirky jokes. But can it be translated to the big screen well? Yes, and no.

Everything, Everything is about Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) a girl with an illness that means she can never go outside. She spends her days reading, looking at the world she can never enter, and dreaming of more. When Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, they begin falling in love. Being with Olly makes Maddy crave experiencing life like never before, and what she discovers in the process will change her life forever.

“Love is everything. Everything.”

While the movie may pride itself on its stunning visuals – including beach scenes, and a glimpse into Maddy’s imagination – the charm of the book doesn’t fully translate on screen. It’s cute that Maddy envisions her text sessions with Olly as them sitting in the model buildings she makes for architecture class, or even outer space. The humour is adorably quirky, including the bundt cake joke (Olly creates a narrative of the cake falling from a window and then being in the ‘hospital’). The awkward first love is definitely there. But where’s the chemistry? The script sometimes gives the actors little to work with, and when they confess their love it seems jarring. We only see them interact a few times via text, and in real life a mere handful of times. They are sweet, intense, awkward. But the pacing feels so quick that we hardly get to know the characters beyond perhaps Maddy and her mom. Olly we only get to know towards the end, and when Maddy tells her mom his dad’s abusive. I just feel like something was lost in translation from page to screen. The heart of the story is there: a tale of grief, of growing up, of falling in love. But I wish the script had been strong from the start.

everything, everything

So the issue with Everything, Everything isn’t in the directing, which allows for visually stunning and quietly emotional scenes, but the script. What was also done well was the acting. We first saw Stenberg in The Hunger Games as Rue and she stole our hearts. It’s lovely to see her in something years later, and her ease with playing earnest characters is still clear. She allows Maddy to be full of wonder at seeing new things, and at being with Olly. Robinson, who was in 2015’s Jurassic World, shows he can do more than play the typical brooding big brother. You can easily believe he’s in love with Maddy. It’s in his expression and the way he can’t take his eyes off of her. Ana de la Reguera as Maddy’s nurse Carla may have a brief role but the dynamic between her and Maddy is lovely. Anika Noni Rose as Maddy’s mom is mostly distant, but at the end when she gets her emotional scene we see her ability.

“I know staying in this house keeps me alive, but this isn’t living. I want experience everything.”

Everything, Everything is mostly successful at being a charming, quirky romance and coming-of-age story, but the script somehow misses the mark. It feels like we barely get to know the characters before Maddy’s off on an adventure, and by then the movie is almost over. I wanted to love this movie because I enjoyed the book. It’s refreshing to see a mixed couple in a sweet tale when the big screen is bombarded with action and superhero flicks. The script sometimes gets thing so right, and the acting is phenomenal. It just feels like there was more to the story.

My Rating: 7/10

everything, everything

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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