Bubble girl finds love. Trouble ensues.
That is basically the story line from the new YA novel adaption, Everything, Everything, written by Nicola Yoon.
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) has never been outside of her house, Never once (I guess those rebellious teen years went pretty easily). She had a rare disease, SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency), that caused her immune system to be weak and threatened her life.
It wasn’t until handsome young stud Olly (Nick Robinson) moved in next door that Maddy began to wish to escape the bubble and experience the world. Ah, young love.
Of course, Maddy hid the fact that she was having feelings for and talking with the neighbor boy from her overprotective doctor, (who happened to also be) her mother Pauline (Anika Noni Rose). Maddy enlists the help of her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera), who in a remarkably irresponsible decision, smuggled Olly in to the germ free environment.
We have some attempt to make Olly a bad boy, as he makes some off the cuff remark about his favorite vice being minor theft, but there is absolutely no evidence of him being anything but an idolized version of a teen romantic hero. He even had the abusive father and put upon mother who take up background time of the story.
There are so many gaping holes in this story that I wonder if the book reads any better. It is a popular book, but that does not make it a good book. These two characters are in such an unbelievable situation that it simply did not feel true. I had not read the book so I do not know how loyal to the story the film is.
So Maddy and Olly run off to Hawaii with their (apparently unlimited funds) and have a good old time. How did they get to Hawaii? On an airplane. I immediately thought to myself, where could they go with more potential germs than on an airplane. Shouldn’t that have sent Maddy straight into the grave? Neither of them even mentioned it. Come on. It’s like going to the hospital to hang out. The fact that this girl who has been isolated from everything in the world for her entire life did not even once think about the danger she was in is just silly.
But the ending…. I won’t SPOIL it here, but it is truly one of the most selfish things I have ever seen and it is hardly even touched upon. The ending made this implausible story downright far-fetched.
I will say though that the young couple, Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson are an engrossing pair, and I think they might have a pretty solid career ahead of them. They were very pretty and they carried off these cardboard characters with a panache that speaks highly of them. Stenberg in particular has an essence about her that I could see her doing something good in the future. She was the engaging character of Rue in the Hunger Games film and she definitely has an “it” factor about her.
There was also an interesting story telling technique that allowed the audience to see a visual interpretation of the text messaging that went on between Maddy and Olly. It was portrayed as a face-to-face meeting, despite it just being text messaging. I thought this was a clever use, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any teenagers confused by these scenes.
However, this film is just another doomed young romance from a YA novel with all of the typical cliches and melodramatics of the genre. Then it has an ending that changes everything, but not in a positive manner. I want to see more of Stenberg and Robinson, but they deserve to be handed much better material.