Reel Reviews | Everything, Everything

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

There’s young love in the air when a sickly girl falls for the new kid next door in the teen drama, Everything, Everything.

Eighteen-year-old, Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) and is confined to her house. It’s a lovely house with an airlock that cleans the air from the outside, HEPA filters, a machine that irradiates her clothes to kill pathogens and large windows for viewing the world. It’s through these large windows that Maddy sees Olly Bright (Nick Robinson) move in next door. She is immediately smitten with the new kid. Because of her condition, Maddy and Olly are reduced to conversations over the phone and email instead of face to face. Until the day Maddy’s nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) lets the boy inside. This one encounter starts a chain of events that test the courage of Maddy, her mother (Anika Noni Rose) and everyone involved as Maddy attempts to find the truth about her condition.

Everything, Everything is the second feature by director Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) and is based on the book of the same name written by Nicola Yoon. The movie is creative, clever in construction, mildly entertaining and extremely cute despite its lack of originality. Meghie does a good job of controlling the pace and coaxing intriguing performances from both Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls). The movie is not complex but represents its YA roots well (Think Nicholas Sparks meets TeenNick).

That being said, for an adult crowd, this movie is a little less entertaining. There are a number of plot holes and inconsistencies that will trip up a more intelligent and discriminating movie viewer. Mature viewers will be required to turn off their brains and just watch. Once they do, however, the ride is quite intoxicating. Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality, Everything, Everything is a safe bet for a teenager date night movie. It’s a movie where they could miss a few moments and still know what is happening.

Grade: C+