Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is a 17 year old girl who is intelligent, quirky and highly imaginative. She appears to be an average teenager, however she suffers from a rare illness that prevents her from leaving her home. When Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, the two begin a friendship through text messages that blossoms into a romance. Maddy’s dreams of traveling and living life outside of her home actually seem possible after meeting Olly and she discovers a part of herself she never knew existed.
Everything, Everything is based on the YA novel of the same name written by Nicola Yoon. It’s a refreshing coming-of-age story that features some solid acting and a heart-warming message sure to resonate with its targeted demographic (and beyond).
First and foremost, I really enjoyed the casting for the individual characters. Stenberg is a perfect fit for Maddy; she plays the character with such innocence and comes across as very endearing. By all accounts she is a normal teenager, but her world is just so small. Her only day-to-day interaction is with her mom (Anika Noni Rose) and nurse (Ana de la Reguera). She also spends quite a bit of time online: taking courses in architecture, writing book reviews on her own blog and of course watching cat videos.
Maddy’s illness has robbed her of a normal life, but she isn’t bitter nor cynical, in fact she seems to have a better disposition than her mother Dr. Whittier. Rose portrays the character as a gentle authority figure and someone who has experienced unimaginable pain; her husband and son were killed in a car accident that still haunts her. Dr. Whittier is determined for her daughter to be well and has gone to great lengths to protect her inside their home.
I could really appreciate the sweet relationship between Maddy and Olly. They come from different backgrounds, but still have so much in common. Olly is something of a loner because his family moves around so much. His kindness towards Maddy and understanding of her health situation are very charming. Because of Maddy’s susceptibility to infections and viruses, the two of them communicate in the form of text messages and scribblings on their bedroom windows. These conversations are brought to life through Maddy’s daydreams where she imagines they are meeting in a diner or a library. I thought that was a smart choice on the part of the director as it kept the movie from feeling stale.
Everything, Everything is a very bright film. Each color is so vivid and seems to pop off the screen. I think this is because of how Maddy looks at life; she has romanticized the ocean and her backyard; things most people take for granted and under-appreciate. The optimism of her character is present throughout the movie and I think it rubs off a little on those around her.
I could appreciate the unexpected twist that came late in the film. It made a fairly formulaic story a little less predictable.
If you’re looking for a sweet movie where nothing blows up, no one travels to space, AND you want to smile like an idiot for 96 minutes- I suggest this one!
Everything, Everything is directed by Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) and adapted from the book of the same name by Nicola Yoon. It stars Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson and Anika Noni Rose. It is currently in theaters!
What’s your favorite YA novel that has been turned into a movie? Any novels you’re hoping will get movie treatment in the future? Let me know in the comments below!