There’s something rather pleasant about this teen romance’s straightforward approach. With no eclectic pop soundtrack or “kooky” characters, Everything, Everything is a simple if saccharine take on its bestselling YA source material.
The simplicity allows the romance to flourish with Hunger Games alumni Amandla Stenberg (Maddy) and Jurassic World’s Nick Robinson (Olly) delivering solid performances. Charisma only goes so far though. The pair are trapped in a rather detached and soulless film with Stella Meghie’s direction failing to pull the heartstrings. The narrative should move the soul and tickle the tear ducts with fervour; it simply does not. Continually searching for the right beat to hit, Meghie’s film never finds it. Cold when it should be funny, distant when it should make us cry, simple when it could be far deeper.
Benchmarked against the far superior The Fault in Our Stars, this shows a clear absence of nuance, and substance beyond the romance. The secondary characters are one of the clear areas for improvement with Maddy’s mum and nurse left to add context rather than character.
The twist when it comes is far from a shock. It should be clear to all from the first ten minutes that it’s coming. Does it matter though? To fans outside of the demographic, of course it does. That’s not who this film was made for though. Far from an excuse, but an important perspective shift. Fans of Nicola Yoon’s book will likely find their favourite characters adapted extremely faithfully on the big screen.
Everything, Everything, as a shallow and flawed adaptation of Yoon’s book, shall not be regarded as a classic of any genre – but then it doesn’t want to be. For its fans, the film will tick all the necessary boxes. Shame it’s not as enjoyable for the rest of us.
CAST: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera
DIRECTOR: Stella Meghie
WRITERS: J. Mills Goodloe (screenplay), Nicola Yoon (based on the book by)
SYNOPSIS: A 17-year-old girl named Madeline Whittier (Stenberg) has a rare disease that causes her to have to stay indoors 24/7. Olly Bright (Robinson) is Maddy’s new neighbor. They get to know each other through emails. The more they get to know each other, the more they fall in love. Olly starts to make Maddy realise that she isn’t really living. This starts the adventures of Maddy’s new life.