EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING certainly struggled with some things
I read “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon last year. A young adult novel about 18 year old Madeline Whittier (played by Amandla Stenberg), who has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). Commonly referred to as “Bubble Boy Disease” because of the popular film and remake, this disease compromises your immune system and leaves you susceptible to diseases around you. Consistently drawing comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You, many wonder is it worth it?
Madeline Whittier lives completely isolated from the world, never having left her severely controlled (we’re talking decontamination chambers and high tech machines for keeping the house sealed shut) home. Her mother is a wealthy physician who is somewhat distant emotionally but entirely too suffocating regarding her daughter’s health.
Maddy hasn’t felt sunshine, rain, or been outside, save a few times when she was very young. Her life is both regimented and completely relaxed as she does online classes, has found a sincere friendship with her day nurse, and devours books like we breathe air. She’s like a princess locked away in a tower.
Life is going well and Maddy is content until (of course) a cute boy moves in next door. Olly (played by Nick Robinson) is charming and disarming, so much so that this girl who is closed off to the world suddenly wants to leave her castle. Things start to change rapidly as Maddy and Olly form a friendship which eventually leads to so much more, but how does a relationship thrive if one person can’t leave the house? Such is the conundrum of this film.
There are some things that work really well for Everything, Everything. The choice of making their text conversations play out as if they are actually talking to one another, unfolding in the imagination of Maddy, was truly adorable and entirely creative. The subtitles of what they were really thinking “his hair could save my life” and other generally cringe-worthy and self-conscious thoughts we have all thought when meeting someone we find entirely attractive, was another nice touch. The casting of Stenberg and Robinson was well done, as these two are quickly becoming well-known and have the talent to back it up. They portrayed the awkwardness of meeting an online significant other in real-life, very well (I was squirming in my seat because there were just so many awkward pauses).
Those things aside, the film itself struggled with realism (she hasn’t left the house but…spoiler alert as seen in the trailer) she becomes an excellent swimmer in a day? Plus the SCID community in general is sick of the portrayal of the untouchable victim as portrayed in these films in books. Often deemed “sick lit” in the young adult world, this film does have a twisted ending that differs from the typical trope as seen in the films before it.
Is this movie good? Overall, I liked it enough. I liked seeing a black/ biracial female character as the main love interest but I dunno if that’s enough for me to say I enjoyed the film as a whole. It boils down to if you enjoy teen films that “risk it all for love” or if you find yourself rolling your eyes throughout those films.. If you’re cynical, you may want to skip this one.
I enjoyed the book enough, but this is one adaption that could have been skipped.