Everything, Everything: An Endearing Tale with a Terrible Third Act
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Based on the YA novel by Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything gets almost everything right. It paints an endearing picture; in fact it even brings you to emotionally invest in the journey of its characters only to pull everything apart with one terrible mistake in its third act. When you learn of this sudden twist, all the attachment you had for this tale takes an inevitable tumble.
Madeline (Amandla Stenberg), an 18 year old girl literally lives life in a bubble. As she gets diagnosed with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), she is told that any living or non-living thing she could come in contact with could lead to her immediate death. So, she spends 17 years of her life inside her house, trapped in a mundane life. One day, she locks eyes with, Olly(Nick Robinson), her new neighbor and this moment changes everything in her life. As she grows close to him, she discovers the urge to see the world for herself and leaves her bubble. The complications her days of freedom brings with it forms the rest of the story.
Director Stella Meghie gives the audience such a beautifully blossoming first half only to break her efforts with an unwarranted twist in the second half. We see Maddy in her bubble and we see her breaking out of it. The entire narrative is built on the extensive detailing and emotional investment in the first half, but with a suddenly arising conflict, the writers who adapted this screenplay discredit everything the film brought to life in the first hour. For example, how would you feel if the writers of Pinocchio told you that his nose never actually expanded when he lied? What if he was just being lied to about his appearances? Wouldn’t this reasoning make for a pointless experience? Why should one be subjected to the whole story if the very core is going to be torn apart in the end. This is the manner in which the writers of Everything, Everything make a terrible blunder.
If the second conflict was thrown at you a little earlier, the film would’ve had the space to fit in a round of drama followed by redemption and a fresh beginning. A fresh start without proper justification is senseless. Redemption without allotting space for drama falls flat. Even when Maddie learns the truth about her condition she never reacts realistically, there is such an apparent lack of drama. If this emotional depth would’ve been showcased, maybe it wouldn’t have appeared so superficial.
It is so disappointing to discover that one significant mistake holds the power to peel away so many interesting layers from the film. In many scenes where Maddie is found texting Olly, the visualization of their imaginary world is so fascinating. The way director Meghie orchestrates the astronaut and Maddy’s imaginary world is beyond moving. These wonderful moments make you wonder why one would settle for such an obvious lapse in judgment.
The casting is on point. As Madeline, Amandla Stenberg really is everything. She displays such intricate vulnerability with a splash of undying curiosity. Her presence on screen is as refreshing as a breath of fresh air. Nick Robinson makes the perfect Olly. The way he portrays Olly’s rebellious attitude is so effortless yet charming.
Technically, the film is nearly perfect. Every aspect complements one another and brings to life a moving tale that could’ve been so much more.
On the whole, Everything, Everything gives you everything you look for in an enchanting love story only to take it all away with a terrible third act twist.