Girl with rare disease and secretive habits meets boy. Kissing and fireworks ensue. 2 stars out of 4.
Eighteen-year-old Maddie (Amandla Stenberg) is a girl in a bubble. Because of a rare immunodeficiency disease, she must remain sealed in the immaculately sterile home she shares with her mother (Anika Noni Rose); only about three people, Maddie tells us, even know of her existence. Though Maddie explains her disease to us, with the help of cutesy animation, it’s undeniably an odd one: Symptoms include a) the inability to wear anything but solid colors, b) a healthy glow that seems remarkable for someone who’s never left the house, and c) a tendency, in true “Love Story” fashion, to grow ever more beautiful in her illness.
Based on a popular young-adult novel by Nicola Yoon and directed by Stella Meghie, “Everything, Everything” tells what happens when Maddie meets Olly (Nick Robinson), the literal Boy Next Door. As they become acquainted over elaborate scenarios involving the destruction of a luckless Bundt cake, it becomes clear that these two angelic teens are meant for each other. Fireworks even go off when they share a forbidden kiss! (Well, it is the 4th of July.) Soon, Maddie’s planned her escape — into a world that may kill her.
You can piece together the story yourself, including its final turn; nothing about Maddie’s story makes sense until, suddenly, it does. But “Everything, Everything” is watchable and not unpleasant, in its moony way, thanks to the chemistry of two leads, both of whom exude a genuine sweetness in the face of an absurd plotline.
Movie Review ★★
‘‘Everything, Everything’,’ with Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera, Anika Noni Rose. Directed by Stella Meghie, from a screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe, based on the novel by Nicola Yoon. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality. Several theaters.
“Thinking is overrated,” says Olly at one point; it’s probably the best philosophy with which to approach this film.
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