Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

"Everything, Everything' a far-fetched teen romance

By: Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post
May 19, 2017 Updated: May 19, 2017 at 11:23 am
0
Caption +
(L-r) Nick Robinson as Olly and Amandla Stenberg as Maddy in "Everything, Everything." MUST CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) is a real thing. The teen romance "Everything, Everything," about a girl with SCID who can't leave her house for fear of dying from a common cold - it's like being allergic to everything, she says - is not.

Inside her hermetically sealed Los Angeles mansion, which includes an airlock, a machine for irradiating her wardrobe of plain white T-shirts and a sanitizing bathtub, Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) lives with her widowed mother (Anika Noni Rose), who is, conveniently, a physician. Although Mom's specialization is never mentioned, she must be a celebrity plastic surgeon to afford this germaphobe-in-outer-space setup, which includes a full-time nurse/chef (Ana de la Reguera) and high-tech appliances controlled by Amazon Echo.

Maddy, who hasn't left the house in 17 years, is remarkably poised, articulate, well-adjusted and smart - a poster child for, presumably, home schooling who, having just turned 18, whiles away her time by reading, drawing, writing sassy, haikulike classic-movie reviews on her personal website and taking online architecture classes, for which she builds surprisingly accomplished scale models, all of which include a small astronaut figurine.

Get me to the doctor, stat. I think I'm allergic to that paragraph I just wrote.

Into this already too-perfect scenario comes a Cute Boy Next Door: Olly (Nick Robinson), who immediately strikes up a texting relationship with Maddy after they briefly lock eyes from their bedroom windows. In short order, they are exchanging flirty banter - or what passes for such, in the cloyingly arch screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe ("The Age of Adaline"), based on Nicola Yoon's 2015 YA novel.

Can the seal on Maddy's autoclaved world withstand the pressure of such swelling adolescent hormones - not to mention Yoon's plot requirements? Don't bet on it. Soon, Maddy and Olly are meeting for chastely unrequited face time, in which he proves his teenage Byronic mettle by offering such cheap poetic insights as, "The whole point of waves is to suck your feet from under you so that you drown faster."

To which Maddy, understandably smitten, replies: "I didn't see that dark turn coming."

More experienced viewers probably will, for their part, spot the movie's downbeat twists from a mile away. No amount of mental preparation, however, can vaccinate you against the one plot development that should, emphatically, not happen, but does.

Stenberg and Robinson are enormously appealing young actors, but charisma only goes so far in a story that manages to be, as directed by Stella Meghie ("Jean of the Joneses"), sterile and wildly far-fetched.

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.