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Everything, Everything – Review


Release Date: 19 May 2017 [USA]
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: J. Mills Goodloe [Screenplay] - Nicola Yoon [Novel]
Cast: Amandla Stenberg - Nick Robinson - Anika Noni Rose



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Posted July 30, 2017 by

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Everything, Everything Review:

There is something refreshingly appealing about any attempt to rejuvenate the rather stale concept of young, passionate and uplifting love: the force that keeps the world afloat. It is not to say it has gone, but the image itself has started sinking. That has partly to do with the fact that audiences are evolving and mainly because teenage merchandise has simply exhausted it.

But with the arrival of films such as ‘Me Before You,’ and certainly ‘Everything, Everything,’ we can witness the beginning of what would fortunately grow into a prolonged trend. There is a sense of pure, almost idealistic affection and devotion, one that emerges in the hardest and darkest of times. It is love in the face of crude, humane, unapologetic pain and death.

This is the coming of age of ‘matured’ young love.

Maddy, as exquisitely portrayed by Amandla Stenberg, is not your average teenager. She is a curious, intelligent, inventive and creative individual. But she is also seriously ill. The storyline follows the consequences of her illness, which ultimately make her a prisoner in her own home. If she leaves the hermetically-sealed seclusion of her home, she would probably die. Maddy’s life is an ever spinning sequence of medicines, reading, writing and watching the world go by outside the thick glass of her bedroom window. That is, until she saw Olly.

Bringing back the boy next door as a central motive for the development of the narrative is a nice little salute to a more traditional way of presenting the soon-to-be romantic partner. Olly, played by Nick Robinson, moved in next to a house, whose occupants seem to be recluses. All, but the pretty girl next to the window.

The earlier stages of their relationship are amusingly innocent, as Maddy experiences unsupervised human contact for the first time. Her inexperience and honesty make for entertaining but revealing conversations, which both overwhelm and puzzle the viewer, as the 18-year old struggles to overcome the psychological strains of her illness. Olly tries his best to amuse Maddy, acknowledging her need for proper human interaction and also, developing feelings for her.

As their relationship progresses into something more than a slightly odd friendship, the young lovers are confronted with the restrictions, imposed by Maddy’s condition, and the implications of Olly’s unhappy domestic life. The narrative focuses on the remarkable strength and resilience of both characters, who for their youth demonstrate unusual power of will, decisiveness and maturity. Again, the concept of mature love is relevant here. It is maturity in knowing what is best for the other person, even if it hurts to let her go. It is fighting for the right and privilege to love her up until the end. Maturity is the power to forgive. In this sense, we can say that the relationship between the characters goes beyond the traditional borders of young love and that is what makes it valuable.

When we talk about love in ‘Everything, Everything,’ it is worth mentioning that it is not singularly and exclusively a positive concept. After Maddy suffers a sudden decline in her health following her romantic escape to Hawaii with Olly, the exact circumstances around her illness become questionable. Nonetheless, it is precisely by facing and embracing these circumstances that Maddy manages to spread her wings and risks everything for a small precious piece of paradise with the ever so energetic Olly.

The empowering force of love in the face of death is nothing new in the drama and romantic genres, but what is to be noted here is the characteristically uplifting, motivating and life-affirming relationship between love and the possibility of death and loss. This particular tie is investigated even further in the narrative, revealing an unexpected plot twist and a painful human drama at its most sincere. This is one, I am afraid, I will have to leave you to brainstorm on by yourselves.

‘Everything, Everything’ offers a new, refreshingly creative and positive outlook on life and what it means to live. The difference between existence and life is made an underlying point and gives an aura of higher meaning and purpose of the film. It is enhanced by the main character’s innocence and increasingly detached knowledge and experience of the world, which dramatically alters her outlook. It is an unburdened, almost childish delight of the smallest sensation.

Few films are as life-affirming and thoroughly positive as this witty, sincerely humane romantic drama, exposing life and love at their purest and simplest. It gives all the right reasons for embracing and loving all that life has on offer. That is your everything, everything.


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Written by:

Asya Gadzheva
Digital Portfolio
Freelance Contributor

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