REVIEW: ‘Everything, Everything’ Lacks Cinematic Substance


When I first saw the trailer for Everything, Everything, my thoughts immediately went to the 1976 made-for TV movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. In that film, a young John Travolta starred as a young boy living in a germ-free bubble due to immune deficiencies. He soon strives to leave his isolated world to be with the girl-next-door. It was based on the true story of David Vetter, who died at the age of 12 without ever leaving his bubble. Everything, Everything is based on the book by Nicola Yoon and is essentially a modern day retelling of the same story but with some unexpected twists (at least for this viewer).

Young Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg, Rue in The Hunger Games) is an 18 year-old girl with a rare immune deficiency disease which leaves her homebound in her own sterilized world. Her life revolves around books and her review blog with her only human contact being her mother (Anika Noni Rose), nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) and Carla’s daughter. When Olly (Nick Robinson, Jurassic World) moves into the neighborhood, Maddy begins to realize her loneliness and how desperate she is to escape her prison. However, one step out in the real world could cause her death. When Maddy decides to take the leap and run off to Hawaii with Olly, it sets her life on a new course, which will eventually take a very dark turn in the final act.Everything, Everything is a fairly simple story, almost too simple. While the characters of Maddy and Olly are likeable enough, there are some very questionable plot holes left unanswered. For example, I was left asking myself how Maddy is able to make travel plans in this post-911 world without ever having stepped foot out the front door. We see a detailed explanation of how she acquires the financial means, but where did she get her ID to board a plane? I know, it’s a trivial detail, but one that leaves the viewer having to take a leap of faith to believe the events as they unfold.

There is rather dark twist in the final act that I personally felt was unnecessary. My daughter said she saw it coming a mile away while I’ll admit, I didn’t expect it at all. That said, it was contrived and unnecessary, ultimately being worthless in its presentation outside of being a catalyst for how our two main leads reunite.

While the cast is certainly adequate and the film well shot by second-time director Stella Meghie, it offers very little risk. It’s just entertaining enough not to be boring, but there is little substance behind the cinematic meal we’re offered. It’s the type of film that might fill up a Sunday afternoon timeslot on a low-rent cable channel. Everything, Everything is a harmless but forgettable tale that could have been much better.

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