Everything, Everything (2017)


Everything, Everything
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Released:  Friday, May 19, 2017  
Length:  96 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Drama
Rating: Everything, Everything is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


A teenage girl (Amandla Stenberg) is unable to leave her home because she has an immunodeficiency that makes her allergic to almost everything. However, her life changes for the better when she begins to communicate with the boy next door (Nick Robinson). Everything, Everything was directed by Stella Meghie, and was adapted from the YA novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon.

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Everything, Everything Theatrical Review

On the surface, it is a sweet, charming story about young love with a dramatic twist.  As it unfolds, the layers reveal so much more. The story is told in a visually appealing manner that will draw the attention of its intended market base of teens/young adults while introducing complex, mature themes that will engage their parents and open conversations. While the basic elements are not entirely new, they are presented in a refreshing way allowing for greater intimacy and interaction between the characters than their true physical limitations will allow. The film leverages the as yet to be labeled (or, as yet for me to learn about) Rashomon-like text/tech performance style equivalent. Based on the bestselling young adult novel of the same name written by Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything is being brought to the big screen by Warner Bros. and MGM; directed by Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) from the screenplay written by J. Mills Goodloe (Age of Adeline).  

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games; Sleepy Hollow) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World; The Kings of Summer) as star-crossed Maddy and Olly.  It is difficult to envision any others in these roles.  From the on-screen chemistry to the sincerity in bringing these characters to life, these two young stars are (at the risk of sounding cliché realized) certainly "ones to watch." 

Maddy (Stenberg) is a talented and imaginative young lady whose entire life has been spent indoors due to a rare illness, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which makes her susceptible to anything outside of her hermetically sealed home.  Everyone and everything must go through decontamination through the home's entrance which is also sealed off from the rest of the home.  Maddy's physical interaction with others has been limited to her mother/physician (Anika Noni Rose; Dreamgirls; The Good Wife); her nurse/caregiver, Carla (Ana de la Reguera; Nacho Libre; Jane the Virgin); and, Carla's daughter, Rosa (Danube R. Hermosillo; The Bold and the Beautiful; Modern Family).  All are exceptional in their respective roles.

We learn that her father and brother died in a car accident when she was barely a toddler.  Maddy had also gotten incredibly, and repeatedly sick around this time. Unable to ascertain the culprit, Maddy's mother, a physician, ultimately draws on her expertise to determine that Maddy suffers from SCID. When Olly (Robinson) moves in next door, a new, very real element enters and expands Maddy's imaginative realm.  Until now, she has only been able to wonder about the world beyond her windows, and speculate from the cache of knowledge which she has accumulated in her 18 years.  

Bright and talented, Maddy whiles away her time reading and soaking in all that she can; then, expresses her interpretation and perception of that reality artistically.  Maddy writes reviews of books and posts them online.  She also avidly draws and creates architectural models.  She has reconciled that she will never experience the outside world...the beach...romantic love...the love of children.  While there is longing, there is a pureness and hopefulness to Maddy that is beautifully and genuinely interpreted by Stenberg. Amidst the angst and malaise inherent in teens (Maddy is no exception), there lacks the bitterness and self-pity that could easily engulf any person, young or old(er), in even a similar situation.

Robinson's Olly is sweet and disarmingly charming; not just the literal "boy next door."  He is playful, and just brooding enough.  He also has his own complicated story and harsh reality.  Olly lives in an isolation of his own though not of his own doing.  This relatability serves to deepen the physical "love at first distant sight" attraction and longing between the two.  Olly awakens Maddy's desires. For the first time, she is willing to entertain the very real notion of engaging with another...possibly even going outdoors. Maddy is ready to set all conjecture aside to fulfill what were only to ever be fantasies.  

An innocence absent of complete naivete on the part of Maddy and Olly is guided by exceptional supporting performances and a synergy amongst the extended cast.  This allows the film to avert seeming artificially or overly sentimental; and, the audience to engage, and fall in love for the first time.  Although some minor detail issues exist, they are not enough to dampen the overall spirit of the film.  It has been creatively crafted to balance the interest of teens, and both the approval and personal interest of parents.

Grade: A-



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