Everything, Everything


“I cannot go out with you; I’m washing my hair … forever.” Was the hair-washing thing ever a legitimate excuse? Lucky me, I grew up in a situation where hair washing wasn’t a big deal, so rejecting somebody with: “I’m washing my hair that night” wasn’t actually a thing. No, it took an even lamer excuse to blow me off.

Speaking of being blown off, the boy next door (Nick Robinson) is perpetually kept at bay from eggshell Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) in Everything, Everything. Maddy has severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), the same thing John Travolta had in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, or Travoltadeficiency folks might remember the “Moops” episode of “Seinfeld.” Bottom line is she can’t go out and he can’t come in. OR SHE’LL DIE!! Yeah, I suppose that’s being a little dramatic, but do you know how hard it is to introduce conflict into romance? If he’s not a vampire, there’s got to be a war or something.

For somebody who’s been stuck in her room for seventeen years, Maddy looks pretty good. She’s also wicked intelligent, as demonstrated by her architectural leanings and desire to play Phonetic Scrabble. Seriously, how nerdy do you have to be to get a charge out of Phonetic Scrabble? And not unlike the hero in Kicks, her fantasy world avatar is an astronaut, who shows up from time to time to give her advice and drink Tang or whatever. It’s a good thing single mom (Anika Noni Rose) is a doctor, for without such, Maddy might not have made it to age two, nor would their house be antiseptic enough to thwart the zombie apocalypse. It’s a wonder mom doesn’t don a hazmat suit after decompressing in the domicile’s atrium.

Teen slacker Olly (Robinson) moves next door and falls in love instantly. However, his Bundt cake offensive can’t even get past the doorstep. So what do you do when you can’t get anything, anything out of the dish in the window? Well, you stage elaborate skits involving a dead Bundt cake. Gotta say, as wooing goes, at least it’s a unique (and fairly innocuous) approach.

One thing I loved about Everything, Everything is that Olly and Maddy are of different races and this is never an issue in the film; nor should it be. What is of issue is the fact that Olly just won’t go away and if you think a shut-in with exactly three real people in her life is going to discourage the cute guy who is into her, well then you’ve probably never seen a movie.

There is a maddening inconsistency to the intelligence within this film; on the one hand, it’s philosophical and deep, constantly asking itself and the viewer, “what is life?” What, indeed, is the point of an existence lived entirely in a cage? Would small freedom not be worth potential death? At some point that has to be true, but where is that point? Said philosophy seems wrapped in the otherwise inexplicable title. OTOH, Maddy is obsessed with the oceans and beaches of Hawaii; I can’t stress enough how silly this thought pattern is given her life in Los Angeles – same ocean, great beaches, babe. On top of that, if you had never set foot outside your house in your entire life, you would hardly need Hawaii to take you there; you’d get a rush out of a 7-11 in Fresno.

Truth be told, I was really into to Everything, Everything until it Cheated, Cheated me. Spoiling this would be Wrong, Wrong, but viewers, you almost certainly will feel let down in Act III. Let down enough to hate the movie? That’s up to you. I’m giving mild approval, but Everything, Everything is on Notice, Notice.

For Maddy, life is great labor
Needing someone to act as a savior
Fortunate Olly
For attractive as she
Thank goodness Maddy has but one neighbor

Rated PG-13, 96 Minutes
D: Stella Meghie
W: J. Mills Goodloe
Genre: Romance, Romance
Type of person most likely to enjoy this film: Goodie goodies
Type of person least likely to enjoy this film: Blam- blams

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