Everything, Everything Movie Review
Often I agree to watch and review a movie because I’m intrigued. Sometimes, I agree in a moment of weakness. Everything, Everything is the kind of movie I could skip and forget about because pretty much everyone else has already skipped and forgotten about it, partially because it’s called Everything, Everything (tagline: “Risk everything… for love” are you f**king kidding me), partially because it’s about a bubble girl who falls in love with the boy next door because he’s cute, notices her in the window and who knows what else while watching her in the window, and partially because the movie just sucks.
But I watched Everything, Everything anyway because it’s now on Blu-ray and looked harmless enough, utterly unaware that the movie, directed by Stella Meghie and based on a book by Nicola Yoon, is about as sterile, vanilla and laughably bland as the interior of protagonist Maddy’s home—she hasn’t been outside in 17 years because she has a chronic disease that makes her immune system susceptible to just about every virus and bacteria in the outside world.
When handsome Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, the good news is that Maddy (Amanda Stenberg), despite being homebound for years (apparently without any friends, except for her nurse and her controlling mother), looks fantastic, has perfect hair and perfect skin, and dresses as if she’s going to a job interview. Even when she’s sitting on her bed in the evening, the bed is perfectly made. In fact, everything in the movie looks perfect—an odd style choice that keeps the audience at a distance, unable to connect in any real way to its characters.
Of course, the film’s style doesn’t really matter—the screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe fails in every regard to convince us why we should care about Maddy and Olly, or that they have anything more than a crush one on another. Basically, Maddy “falls in love” with Olly because he’s more or less the first boy she’s ever seen, let alone interacted with, and to Olly, she’s the cute, unavailable girl next door. Believable relationships have started from shakier ground, but there’s usually a Step B to show these two are meant to be together.
Everything, Everything could have been effective in the right hands, though I imagine the young adult fiction upon which the movie is based only has so much depth to begin with (that could be unfair, but I doubt it). Had emphasis been placed on establishing the friendship/romance between Maddy and Olly—something you think would be a given in a story like this—instead of creating odd dreamscapes where the two characters interact without the limitations set by the story—odd, corny and completely defeating, by the way—the movie might have worked.
Then there’s the ending, and maybe the movie wouldn’t have worked after all. Without going into detail—hell, the chances of you watching this stupid movie are so low I’ll go into detail—[SPOILERS] it turns out that Maddy doesn’t have the “bubble baby” disease her mother has told her she has, which a) allows her to end up with Olly, because thankfully she’s making life decisions based on her interactions with the one guy she’s ever met, and b) means that her mom has inflicted incredible trauma on her daughter through years of emotional abuse. That would be a nice little twist if a) it wasn’t utterly predictable (my wife sat down halfway through the movie and, after learning what it was about, said “her mom is faking it” almost immediately) and b) the ending wasn’t neutered to such a degree that the story brushes everything that is fucked up about what her mom does under the rug about a minute after the big revelation.
Everything, Everything suffers from a mindboggling ending and, even worse, a young adult romance that lacks the believability, charm or rudimentary entertainment value needed to win over even the most wishy eyed teenage girl. Everything, Everything is nothing, nothing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.