Filmmakers attempting to break into the teen drama / romance genre seem destined to fail, mostly because of the candid authenticity of movies that came before like “The Fault in Our Stars” and “The Spectacular Now.” Whereas these films get almost everything right where coming-of-age adolescent angst is concerned, the plot for “Everything, Everything” feels like it’s filled with a watered-down insincerity.
The absurdity of it all revolves around the preposterous premise of author Nicola Yoon’s popular young adult novel (on which this movie is based). The story is about the life of a sweet 18 year old girl Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) who has a severe disorder with her immune system and is allergic to everything, including the outdoors. Maddy’s overprotective doctor mother (Anika Noni Rose) keeps her as a willing prisoner inside a glass walled house. When the dreamy and mysterious pretty boy Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, the two are smitten (and of course with these two being teenagers, it’s love at first sight).
There’s an enormous amount of charisma and chemistry between the highly appealing young actors, and the performances are far better than you’d expect for a throwaway melodrama like this. Director Stella Meghie employs some clever ways to visualize the book, including having Maddy imagine elaborate fantasy sequences in her head when she’s simply texting back and forth (it’s a lot more interesting than looking at words on an iPhone screen).
But that’s where the positives stop.
There are so many far-fetched and ridiculous things that happen in the story that it becomes totally implausible and as a result, will take viewers out of the fairy tale experience that was obviously intended. Without giving away any spoilers, I kept wondering how a girl who most likely has no form of government identification was able to board an airplane, not to mention how her teenage boyfriend was able to rent a car.
Despite its many, many flaws, the film is sweet and innocent enough to appeal to the ‘tweens at which it’s aimed — adults would do better to skip this one.