Movie Review - Everything, Everything
Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) stars as Madeline Whittier aka Maddy, a girl who celebrates her 18th birthday. She's spent pretty much her whole life inside her home. She's not allowed to go outside because she has an illness, an immune deficiency that's so extreme she could die if she catches any disease or any allergen. Her mother, Dr. Whittier, played by Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog), has designed their house to be virtually germ-free.
One day, some new neighbors move in, a family of four, a mom, dad, son and daughter. Maddy is attracted to the son who may or may not be 18 himself, though he looks older than her. His name is Olly. He's played by Nick Robinson (Jurassic World). Because her mom won't let her leave the house, Maddy can't talk to Olly. He does show an attraction to her and because his bedroom window is conveniently right across from her, he is able to write in big numerals his phone number, so they start texting and talking on the phone.
As the narrator and protagonist, we do get to know Maddy. She writes book reviews and she's into architecture. When she starts talking to Olly, those are the opportunities to get to know him. It's appreciated that there are a lot of awkward silences because that happens in real life, but at no point does the movie ever get to know him in any detail. Maddy's mom finds out about him and asks her what he's like and Maddy doesn't or can't give any details about what his likes are or what his hobbies are or what he wants to be when he grows up.
Olly is simply an object of desire to spur Maddy to want to get out the house more than she already does. He has some quirks to him. He has one issue, which is alluded but never fully explored. Otherwise, he's more an idea than a fully fleshed-out person. He's equivalent to the male version of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or a Manic Pixie Dream Guy. He supposedly goes to summer school where he says he's not popular but does that mean he has zero friends. How can that be considering he's supposed to be this super cool and super charming guy? It's as if he only exists to be the carrot marching Maddy forward. He's not his own individual.
Nevertheless, this movie has been the focus of controversy, not great controversy but a little controversy, regarding its portrayal of Maddy's health issues. Some have argued that the movie depicts Maddy's life as hopeless because she has this illness and that her only salvation comes from not having the illness at all, which is a poor message to send to those who do have debilitating or life-threatening illnesses like the one Maddy has. I agree with this argument.
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 36 mins.
Available on DVD / VOD.