Everything Everything Is Barely Anything!

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – AMANDLA STENBERG as Maddy  – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

Maddy Whittier lives in a house that, like the Mars biosphere training facility, is completely sealed off from the rest of the world – because Maddy has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), making her essentially allergic to almost everything.

When Olly Bright’s family moves in next door, he notices her looking out her window and is intrigued.

Based on the novel by Nicola Yoon, Everything Everything is a story of first love/coming of age/indomitable spirit.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – (L-R) AMANDLA STENBERG as Maddy, NICK ROBINSON as Olly and ANA DE LA REGUERA as Carla – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

It is also fundamentally flawed – with only brief moments of genuine cleverness.

The romance between Maddy and Olly (Nick Robinson, Melissa & Joey, The 5th Wave) is cute, but not particularly believable – the book must have devoted a lot more space to it – but Stenberg and Robinson have decent enough chemistry that, had the film not been rehashing so many clichés it might have worked.

Unfortunately, Everything Everything loses its way early – when we first meet Pauline as she enters the house and ‘decontaminates’ herself in the airlock. Yup, the house has an airlock – this is one very rich doctor (she must have some really esoteric specialization…). The point is that if you watch the scene carefully, there’s a truly huge ‘Oops!’ moment.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – (L-R) ANIKA NONI ROSE as Pauline and AMANDLA STENBERG as Maddy – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

As the movie progresses, one has to wonder if maybe Maddy’s (Amandla Stenberg, The Hunger Games, Mr. Robinson) mom and doctor, Pauline (Annika Noni Rose, The Good Wife, Bates Motel) has Munchausen-By-Proxy, but nope. That’s not it.

Then there’s the way that Rosa (Danube Hermosillo, The Bold and the Beautiful), the daughter of Maddy’s nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera, Narcos, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), is the only other person allowed into the house.

Since no reason is given, we have to wonder why it’s such a big deal when Carla goes behind Pauline’s back to let Olly visit. Surely they both had to go through decontamination…

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – (L-R) NICK ROBINSON as Olly and AMANDLA STENBERG as Maddy – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Eventually, Maddy takes off with Nick – they go to Hawaii (‘It’s surprisingly easy to get a credit card…’).

There also a lot of other peculiarities that don’t line up in any sensible manner – even the way Maddy gets sick while in Hawaii feels wrong. It just doesn’t have the weight it should have – though it is yet another clue as to what’s really going on.

Probably the most interesting parts of the movie are when Maddy texts with Olly and imagines the two of them in one of the models she makes for her online architecture course (she also puts an astronaut in them because that what she feels like in her hermetically sealed home). During these sequences, an astronaut is always nearby – in a clever bit set in a diner she designed, the astronaut is sitting in another booth and waves at her.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – (L-R) AMANDLA STENBERG as Maddy and NICK ROBINSON as Olly – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

While Everything Everything is not made for my particular demographic, it does insult the intelligence of any reasonably bright, observant human being over the age of, say, six.

Oh, and there’s one more plus for the movie – it’s ninety-six minutes long (and about four minutes of it are the closing credits (which are also very clever, so there are three things about the movie that are actually pretty good…).

In the end, it’s only better than I expected because I had absolutely no expectations going in.

Final Grade: D+

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