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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 27, 2017

Everything, Everything Movie Review: Unsatisfying Screen Version Of A Best Selling Book For Young Adults

‘EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING’ is based on a 2015 novel for young adults written by Nicola Yoon. The movie is narrated by Madeline “Maddy” Whittier (Amandla Stenberg), a 17 year old girl who is turning 18 and lives like a prisoner in her own house in Los Angeles. She has SCID (Severe Combined Immuno Deficiency), which makes her easily affected by germs or allergens that can easily infect and kill her, just like John Travolta in the 1976 TV flick, “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble”.

Maddy relates mainly with her mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose), a doctor who lost her dad and older brother in a car crash many years ago. She is also allowed to be near her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) and Cara’s daughter, Rosa (Danube Hermosillo). To help pass the time, she reads books and then writes her own short reviews online. She is part of an online SCID support group, also studies architecture online and does a lot of imagining to feel that she’s in the outside world.

Her foremost dream is to see the sea and walk on the beach. Maddy’s life is lengthened by her imprisonment in her own house but is the length or quantity of one’s life more important than its quality? Then a new family from Chicago moves on the house next door. They have a teenage son, Oliver or Olly (Nick Robinson), who wears only black clothes while Maddy wears only white clothes.

But in this interracial romance, Olly is actually the one whose Caucasian while Maddy is African American. As maybe expected, a forbidden love affair blooms between them and Maddy realizes that there’s more to the world than the house where’s she been cooped up for 18 years. Maddie defies her mom and escapes with Olly to Hawaii where she gets laid for the first time. And then something happens to her while she’s there and she ends up in a hospital.

The movie starts with an intriguing concept. It reminds you of other romantic films where one of the main characters is sick and dying. This dates back to the 70s with the huge hit, “Love Story”, where the lead guy is also named Oliver and his loved one dies of leukemia. Then there’s “Untamed Heart”, “The Fault in Our Stars”, “If I Stay”, “Me Before You” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”.

The problem with “Everything, Everything” is that there’s a twist in the story that appears more like just a plot contrivance that requires you to really suspend your disbelief for you to be able to enjoy the movie. Which is sad as Director Stella Meghie manages to give it a strong and promising start creating a sympathetic world for Maddy. Then the narrative takes its unexpected revelation and the plot contortions become unsatisfying, feeling artificial and forced until the rushed feel good ending.

The two leads are both relative unknowns. Amandla has appeared in “The Hunger Games” while Nick is a child actor in “Jurassic World”. The difference in their races is not given any emphasis and is treated like as normal as normal can be. The problem is they don’t have much on screen chemistry as the star-crossed lovers. Both look good but not really as lead stars as they lack that incandescent charisma called star quality. If you've read the book, we're sure this will be an unsatisfying film version for you.