Sometimes I hate writing reviews, especially when it comes to YA movies. Why? Because lately, it seems that I am searching for something nice to say. But when it comes to Everything, Everything the words comes easy and I know that it’s a beautiful movie that will move you to the core.
It truly is everything.
What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face…or kiss the boy next door? “Everything, Everything” tells the unlikely love story of Maddy, a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly, the boy next door who won’t let that stop them.
Maddy is desperate to experience the much more stimulating outside world, and the promise of her first romance. Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, she and Olly form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together…even if it means losing everything.
Can you imagine not being able to go outside? I couldn’t. There is nothing like the feel of the sun on your skin, the smells, the sounds… it’s all things that I would miss if I wasn’t outside. But for Maddy she’s never done that. She’s only known her home and the closest that she’s come to it is the room that her mom has built for her to feel like she is outside.
Her life is a life of existing, rather than living.
Enter the boy next door, who wants nothing more than to give her the world. He wants nothing more than to get to know the mysterious girl in the window and let her know that she doesn’t have to be the girl that just exists in the world. She is his world.
There are no better young actors to convey this story than Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg. What they did in this movie, the way that they brought this story to life, is nothing short of pure magic and chemistry.
It is beautiful.
Stenberg plays Maddy, the girl who has been told her whole life that she is sick and will never set foot outside. Knowing the character through the books and then seeing her on the screen – Stenberg managed to bring her to life flawlessly – the perfect mix of strength, vulnerability and beauty.
Robinson, oh Nick… I am so sorry that I am a cougar because you caught my eyes and made me jealous of what amazing hair you have. But what caught me most about Robinson was not that he was so flawless as Olly, but that when there are the hard scenes, when your heart is breaking for Olly, that pain is alive in Robinsons eyes. When he’s in love, you see that too. Everything with Robinson doesn’t seem to be acting. He seems to be existing as the character.
The two are perfection together. Every single time they are on screen together, my arms were filled with goose bumps and my heart started to beat fast.
The most beautiful scene of the film didn’t involve seeing their faces. It was simply a dress being unzipped. Director Stella Meghie made a great call when she decided that some of the most amazing scenes didn’t have to be “tropey”, it can be conveyed in brand new ways.
You could tell that Meghie loved this story. She knew that she didn’t want to fall along the lines of what a YA Movie stereotype is. She took risks. She made sure that there were great settings and the aesthetic of the film was something that book lovers and non book readers would love. Just wait and see how the text messages come to life. She instead wanted to make it a strong movie that could reach everyone, that just happened to star teenagers.
Because beyond Maddy and Olly’s story is so much more. It’s a story of loosing someone and finding a way to cope with that loss – whether it be right or wrong. It doesn’t justify the wrongs – though the characters try to. It makes you think, it makes you angry, it makes you cry, and it makes you think about the things that you may take for granted.
It’s so hard to say so much without saying too much.
Movies, TV… they are meant to do something very specific. They are meant to evoke a reaction from those watching. If it is good or bad, it needs to make the watcher feel and become invested.
We don’t say it often, but we will say it about this movie – Everything, Everything is a book adaptation done right.
The movie opens in theaters May 19th.