Everything, Everything is a teen movie with a twist, somewhat of a strange and disconcerting twist, but a twist nonetheless. Our protagonist is Madeline (more affectionately known as Maddy, played by Amandla Stenberg) who lives her life in a kind of bubble. As an infant she was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune deficiency disorder (SCID), resulting in her not being able to leave the confines of her house as any contact with outside world could potentially kill her. Maddy would love nothing more than to wade into the aquamarine ocean that she lives so close to but could not be father away from. However Maddy does that thing that many teenagers are wont to do and falls hopelessly in love with the boy next door (Olly, played by Nick Robinson), thus resulting in an overpowering and suitably melodramatic need to risk her life to be with her one true teenage love. Everything, Everything follows their story, and the difficulties of being together when they absolutely cannot be together.
Everything, Everything is adapted from a Young Adult novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon. The Stella Meghie directed film is a painfully hip and modern tale. Various technological gadgets and accoutrements are littered throughout Maddie’s high spec house and are presented as being necessary to her survival. When Maddie and Olly begin to communicate, their texts roll across the screen, like a news channel banner providing constant and unrelenting romantic updates. Although the gadgetry is achingly cool and contemporary, the teenage experience still seems to be the same, even though a deadly illness constantly looms. Maddie’s complaints seem to mirror that of any other angst ridden teenager, when her eighteenth birthday comes around she declares, “I’m eighteen, but that means nothing in here.” Instead of glances being stolen and looks exchanged in the classroom or across the hall, Maddy and Olly gaze longingly at eachother through their bedroom windows. At one point Maddy utters the most tortured teenage statement I think I’ve ever heard, “His hair could save my life.” These are all universal experiences, the environments have just changed slightly.
Maddy and Olly’s connection grows at lightening speed (again, true of many a teenage romance) and a face-to-face meeting eventually occurs. From here, feelings flourish and love inevitably takes over. It is from there that things begin to unravel, and many a surprising twist takes place. Everything, Everything is like a curious contemporary concoction of Romeo & Juliet and Edward Scissorhands, the star crossed lovers cannot be together and cannot even physically touch each other without potentially deadly consequences. Throw in a few crazy plot twists and you’ve got enough to interest the most apathetic of teens. Perhaps it was a little too melodramatic for this cynical thirty year old but for me, it wasn’t exactly everything, everything (Ed – Nice last line!!).
Everything, Everything is on general release from Friday August 18th