Jacob Bock ’18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Everything Everything is this summer’s young adult romance film. Although its roots are in a trite genre riddled with clichés, this flick holds up on its own merits. The story follows Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) a young woman living the rare disease SID (suppressed immune deficiency), forcing her to spend her entire existence indoors with filtered air. So she’s basically the bubble boy, but if the bubble was a really sleek ultra-modern house. Maddy attends an online school for architecture and writes online book reviews. One day a moving truck pulls in next door. There she sees Olly (Nick Robinson). The two get to know each other over text, email, and pantomiming through windows. Being her only human contact besides her mother and nurse, Maddy falls head over heels in love. With these new feelings, Maddy realizes that her life in this glass castle isn’t really living. This starts the adventure of Maddy’s new life.
Director Stella Meghie did a fantastic job. As most of this film is housed in a few rooms, scenes are expertly blocked and framed for highly dynamic shots within a static space. The house itself is beautiful. An absolute marvel of modern architecture that will cause any fans of HGTV to salivate. The costuming plays into the house’s aesthetic through the use of simple yet elegant dress. And whoever was the colorist on this film absolutely deserves an award, for every frame is a painting. The performances between Stenberg and Robinson are fantastic. They play off each other so well, making every romantic and or awkward moment palpable. It goes without saying that the sexual tension can be cut with a knife. Truly the physical acting is on point, making the interactions through their adjacent bedroom windows so powerful. For drawn out conversations over text, the film employs a great narrative device. Like something out of a more surreal Woody Allen film, these scenes are imagined by Maddy to take place within her architecture models. Where there is only two teens texting, we see the two interacting in a 50’s diner and a library. The supporting cast is great especially Anika Noni Rose as Maddy’s mother Pauline. It is a shame that her character wasn’t given enough development. While set up as a stereotypically strict mother, at her core she wants what’s best for her daughter. Although we get some shades of her character, she is painted too broadly as unrelentingly rigid.
There is enough charm here to meet the desires of its target audience. As this is a teen romance movie, it does fall into some clichés, with some cheesy dialogue, cringe worthy moments, and a melodramatic twist that needed more development and cheapens the film. The problems with the script stem from the same place. It moves too fast and much needed details are glossed over. Maddy’s isolation should’ve been explored in greater detail. She feels too normal and well adjusted for someone imprisoned in her house for 18 years. The relationship building phase is glossed over and we never truly get the nuances of why Maddy and Olly like each other. The final act after the twist has no real resolution and ends abruptly. This could’ve used an extra thirty minutes of run time.
So the final verdict: there are too many issues with this film to pay the price of theater tickets. However, Everything Everything will make for a much enjoyable rental.
Overall Grade: B
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