Summary: A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
Cast and Characters. I think everyone is really good in their roles. Being that these are characters from a young adult novel, with the exception of Maddy’s mother, I think everyone fills those roles really well, they look like their characters and feel like their characters in the book. Maddy’s mother is Japanese American in the book and her father was black, it looked like they switched it in the film.
Amandla Stenberg as Madeline “Maddy” Whittier. Maddy is an 18 year old girl who is living with a disease that prevents her from going outside called “SCID”. It pretty much means that she could die if she goes outside. She’s lived her entire life in her house. However, she manages to have a pretty positive outlook on life, she knows what her limitations are but that doesn’t stop her from longing, especially for the ocean. When she sees Olly’s family moving in she’s immediately drawn to him and she watches him to know more. When they start talking, it’s a bit easy to see that she’s nervous but she wants to know more about him. As time goes on, she wants more and more, and she even risks her life to run outside to see if Olly is okay when he gets into it with his father. Maddy puts her passion into everything. I like Amandla, and I thought she was well cast here. She was soft spoken most times, but she was able to maintain a kind of fierceness about her. She ended up being a little forward which for her, was good and it made sense instead of her just being pulled along by Olly. I had massive hair envy of her as well. The film really rests on her shoulders and I think she led it well.
Nick Robinson as Oliver “Olly” Bright. Olly is introduced when Maddy looks out her window and sees his family moving into the house next door. After he and his sister bring over a bundt cake, he shows his interest. As the story continues, he continues to try to reach out to her in different ways, he uses a bundt cake to make her laugh, he gives her his number, he asks her questions and he seems open but I think he also showed that he had his own secrets which we learned. I liked Nick Robinson, I’ve only ever seen him in Jurassic World and his character was meh, but here, he was able to have a bit more fun. He was able to really fall in love, to worry about her, to worry about his family, to have fun and show her fun things. It was cute seeing him care so much and the way he looked at her, I thought he did very well. I was a little sad that they didn’t keep physical stuff he liked to do. In the book, Olly, liked to climb on stuff, he would climb up on his roof a lot. However, I do like they had him have longer hair whereas in the book he had a shaved head.
Anika Noni Rose as Pauline. She’s a doctor, she works in a hospital but she also makes sure that Maddy is well cared for. She’s not always around but when she is, she and Maddy have fun. They play Phonetic Scrabble, they watch movies together and it’s clear that Pauline loves Maddy. She might be a little bit of a curious person though. I think Anika Noni Rose does a good job, she has great chemistry with Amandla, I believed that she was her mother, I thought her performance was also very understated. When she finds out that Maddy had been talking with Olly, she doesn’t freak out, she sits and talks with her in that knowing motherly tone. I was actually surprised because I think she freaked out a bit more in the book. I appreciated that it wasn’t overly dramatic. There’s also a scene towards the end, an emotional scene between mother and daughter, and again, I thought Anika Noni Rose was really subdued but emotional in how she performed that scene.
Ana de la Reguera as Carla. She has a larger part in the book, but Carla is Maddy’s nurse, had been for years and a friend to Maddy. She, in the beginning knows that something is different once Maddy starts talking with Olly. She spends her days with Maddy and knows her so well, that she walks into a room and knows something is different. She even allows for them to meet in person because she wants Maddy to have something to experience. She’s very supportive, she loves Maddy and she’s also funny. Once she learns that Maddy wants to keep Olly from coming over from her mother, she wonders about her own daughter keeping secrets.
The Story. I think it’s sweet. It’s not an extremely deep story but it has a lot of layers. There’s a girl who wishes she could go outside, knows she can’t and is okay with that, for the most part. She has her wishes, her illness prevents that and she’s okay with it, but when she meets Olly, she starts to get a lot of new thoughts and wants. Just like any young woman, she begins to want more than she has and Olly is a nice catalyst to that. I think it’s more than just love that causes her to want to go outside, mostly visit the ocean, it’s something she’s always wanted, and she does it. Don’t let fear hold you back, if you want everything, then go for everything. It’s definitely sweet to me. There’s definitely more to it but I don’t want to spoil anything either lol. But there are some interesting additions between Maddy and her mom.
The Romance/Chemistry. This film banks on the relationship and chemistry of Maddy and Olly. If Amandla and Nick didn’t work out together, then this movie would be terrible. They have great chemistry. When Maddy first sees him, it’s already shown in her eyes that she’s intrigued, same with him, when he sees her, it’s flirty. But then it turns into something more and they are able to really connect.
The Texting/Getting To Know Each Other Scenes. So in the book, Maddy doesn’t have a phone, she only emails and IMs Olly and we have to read their interactions, which is fine. But for a movie, I’m glad the audience wasn’t stuck just reading their emails, and text messages. They spend time actually talking on the phone before they meet in person, whenever they start texting each other, the viewers go into Maddy’s imagination and we get to see Olly and Maddy actually physically talk in her imagination, we get to see the actors talk but in real time they’re texting. It’s really cool to see that. When they actually get into a room together, we see awkward silences and their conversation but at the same time, we see sentences of their inner thoughts. I thought that was handled really well. When things got emotional and taxing between them, texting and IMing is so impersonal but seeing them actually interacting helped.
The Music. This will be in both parts, but there are parts where the music really worked, especially in the scene where they are driving together to their hotel. I also love that song. There are also some more mood like music in the film that is sweet and uplifting. It helps fit the movie, it’s even better when the characters are playing the music or listening to it themselves because it fits even more and not just blasting in our ears as the audience.
Looks Good/The Colors. This film looks really good, the colors are bright and warm. Whenever Maddy wears colors, it always looks like the colors were turned up to make it pop more. When she’s outside, this filter seems to slide over the camera, which makes sense as this all new to her. When she’s at the ocean, the shots are so beautiful, the water looks beautiful and makes me want to go there. Maddy wears a lot of white and it looks clinical and off putting but at the same time ethereal which makes sense for her character.
The Credits. This isn’t a point to the movie at all, because it’s the credits lol but I appreciated how they added all of the drawings and pictures from the book into the credits. It was cute.
It’s Cutesy. If you don’t like romance movies, especially ones with young people, then this movie won’t be for you. It’s really cute and in places it’s a bit too cute where part of you may feel like ugh.
A Bit Slow/Pacing. There are moments, which for a book works, but for a film, those moments of staring out a window, or staring at each other longing for long periods of time doesn’t always work. It gets a little awkward after the third time. It slows the film down and makes it feel slower than it probably needs to be. Instead of all those moments, they should have filled those spaces with learning more about Olly’s character outside of his interactions with Maddy. In the book, there were a lot of times where Maddy watches from her window, and sees things at Olly’s house, I think if the movie would have shown his side a bit too, albeit from her POV, it would help give him a bit more character.
The Music. It’s not always bad but sometimes it’s just too much pop music. I always think that music is a big part of the film but I think this film uses way to many pop songs. There’s one song by Alessia Cara and Zedd I think that I really like, but then there were like two songs immediately afterwards. I started to get a little fatigued.
The Disease is Forgotten. Maybe that’s the point considering that Maddy wants to live her life, what may be left outside BUT it feels like if the disease didn’t exist, it wouldn’t really change anything. She’d just be a sheltered girl who went outside for the first time and then the disease comes back and makes an appearence for drama. You could really take it out and it wouldn’t really matter for the most part.
The Last Act. So Maddy and Olly run off to Hawaii to “escape” and it’s cute but then drama happens. The last 30 minutes or so, feel kind of random, I think the book handled it better, it flowed better than in the film. It just felt like things took a weird left turn and if I didn’t know what was going to happen, I would wonder why there wasn’t a buildup to this. Maybe Carla should have said something, I think she did in the book, but here there’s nothing. There should have been something. It gets a little emotional in the movie but I don’t think that translate to the audience, at least not to feel the same emotion the characters are feeling, or at least to cry at what’s being shown. It feels a little unearned.
Overall, I really liked this movie, I thought it was cute. It’s a nice date movie. If you go into this film expecting a huge romantic love story, you won’t really get that. It’s a young adult story (one of the better ones I think though) so don’t expect a big epic love story, but to these two characters and probably some teenagers they may feel that way. I think the characters are good for the film and the cast do well in their jobs, they are well casted from their book counterparts. Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson really hold well together with their chemistry and interactions. I love the little tidbits of watching them get to know each other even though it’s through texting form. I think the movie looks really good as well, the colors are bright and welcoming, the whites that Maddy wear are pristine and clinical which fits into her world, the shots at the beach were beautiful. It’s fun. On the other hand, it does feel a bit shallow in the emotional tidbits at the end, it doesn’t feel earned like it should be. The last act of the film feels a little random where it seems like some scenes are missing or that they don’t flow well together.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Everything, Everything? Have you read the book? How does it compare?
What is your favorite romantic movie?
What romantic book do you want to be turned into the film?
Let me know in the comments below!
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