Movie Review: Everything, Everything
Director: Stella Meghie
Starring: Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson.
Release Date: 18th August 2017 (UK)A teenager who's spent her whole life confined to her home falls for the boy next door. – courtesy of IMDB
An introvert’s dream
Another year, another YA novel adaptation for the big screen. Let’s face it, the vast majority of the time, Young Adult novels have had a bad track record when adapted into films and TV, often resulting in outcomes that range from mediocre to poor. There are exceptions (The Fault in our Stars and The Hunger Games to name a couple) but there is something that often fails to translate from these much loved novels when they are moved into a different medium.
Everything, Everything is the latest contemporary YA novel that Hollywood have grabbed hold on to and the reception so far has been, yep you guessed it, mediocre to poor. Having read the source material and enjoying it quite a lot I was honestly a little downhearted when I saw the first trailer released. My suspicions of what would make it a horrible adaption lingered until I finally went to see the film myself. So what did I think?
Everything, Everything is certainly not without its flaws, and it’s entirely forgettable as a film, but its not as bad as I was expecting it to be – in fact, it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours. It’s that type of movie. You won’t be left talking about it for hours, and it certainly won’t stay in your mind for a few days afterwards - it’s a movie you would stick on if you saw it on TV and find it pleasantly enjoyable whilst it lasted.
The script is fine; if not without its massive cliché (the boy next door thing is massively over done), and the direction of the story does take admittedly interesting turns. In fact, the premise of someone falling in love whilst being allergic to everything in the outside world is interesting and allows enough encouragement to carry on watching purely on curiosity alone. The acting, for the most part is well done and engaging. At first, the romance feels a little forced, but once you have our two relatively unknown leads engage with one another, the dialogue is well delivered and can be pretty endearing for the most part. It’s a romance film and it does what any good romance film does. It’s sweet and even a little charming.
The biggest flaw in Everything, Everything lays in its extremely bland story telling. This is a film that feels like a film – nothing feels real. The overly glossy Hollywood paint glazes the entirety of the film. The sets feel like sets (even when in scenes clearly shot outside on location) and the camera work is a flat as a pancake. Nothing pops, nothing is memorable. This wouldn’t so much of a problem in a regular romance film, but one with this sort of premise is totally lacking in any sort of grit, even if it’s the tiniest hint of grit. There’s sadness and tragedy with a concept such as this, and yet things are still delivered in an overly saturated and romanticised fashion to the point where the concept loses the majority of its intended punch when more emotional moments occur.
It’s a damn shame really. I’m not saying it has to have an overtly depressing tone as this wouldn’t be true to the novel. I’m saying that taking a different approach for this adaptation may have helped this movie stand out from all the other bland romance films within the genre, because it certainly had the potential.
Everything, Everything is a nice little ride but the overall cleanliness, bland direction, and the odd cliché story narratives make source material that could have worked very well as a film not work to its full potential. It’s by no means awful; it’s enjoyable, it just lacks.
+ Nice central performances
+ Intriguing story premise
+ Good romantic chemistry
- Bland approach to filmmaking
- Cliché moments can suck you out of the experience