It’s boy meets girl story with a uniquely inspiring, yet devastatingly real shadow that envelops the plot line. Whilst director Stella Meghie hasn’t been noticed in the film industry until 2016 when she released her first film, ‘Jean of the Joneses‘, it is reassuring to know that the 2017 film Everything, Everything will most definitely be making the Canadian Screenwriter a phenomenon in the romantic genre of the industry. Whilst it was already a novel by Nicola Yoon in 2015, the screen brings the exhilarating, tender and warm character Maddy to life.
Strong characters and clever casting
Maddy, an 18 year old girl who suffers from a rare disease (SCID) is trapped to the confines of her own clean, sanitary and somewhat clinical vision she knows as home. Whilst her mum is the mastermind behind her daughters safety, you feel sympathy for a doctor who is a mum but also has a duty to protect more than her own. There is something fresh about having the lead actress be a young, independent black lady. Amandla Stenberg herself is a voice for her community, having her Instagram as a forum to be heard and promote her rightful success in her new film. Nick Robinson perfectly epitomises the classic love interest, Olly, yet his backstory is more tragic than usually shown in a romantic film.
Maddy and Olly’s story begins as a fairytale but comes full circle when the realities of her disease stand against her in the fight for love and freedom. Maddy’s nurse Carla is one of a kind, acted by Anabell Gardoqui, she totally nails the performance of a compassionate and benevolent woman, who is an alternative outlet for Maddy to turn to. Whilst Maddy and Olly’s relationship is confined to the walls of Maddy’s house; Olly’s life is being against the wall, by the hands of his father.
A visually contrasting, powerful story
When you think of love, you think of a sacrificial kind, the agape, that doesn’t warrant anything in return, doesn’t ask for much but more importantly allows one to undeniably know, they always have a place in someone else’s heart. Maddy falls over her hurdles that are set in her path a few times. With her mum discovering her first meet with Olly, a loved one is lost.
But all is not over because like I said, this film is about love and whilst many films portray love to be simple, Everything, Everything understands the boundaries of love in the real world (well, as much as a fictional film can). I mean, yes they do embark on a trip to Hawaii because Maddy discovers the simplicity of recruiting a credit card but the reality of her disease hits. Again, that black and real shadow begins to develop and wrap around Maddy’s life.
Now the actual cinematography isn’t brilliant, yet the aesthetic throughout the film is constant, which is satisfying for a viewer. The interior of every scene is well thought through and the contrast between Olly’s home and Maddy’s can go unnoticed by watchers but it didn’t pass my eye. The obvious juxtaposition of darker tones on Olly’s house with Maddy’s white home, shows the contrast between the lack of life Maddy has explored, being perfect and innocent and the over bearing life Olly has ventured through.
So, my overall review of this film? Quite simple. It’s a vivid picture into the future of romantic films, focusing on the reality of problems in the real world. Undertaking the new, rightful 21st century approach, the casting crew has ACTUALLY expanded the ethnicities in this film and it is something I look forward to finally seeing in the film industry, which this film has set precedent for.
The film is a beautiful story, which allows the characters to develop and we see the sensibility and truth of disease. Whilst it still hasn’t defied the laws of the cliche protocols for a romantic film, it has quite clearly attempted to do so with a story about a sick teenage girl. The one thing is does show is hope; the fact that people are not their illness but that it’s simply just part of them.
Words by Polly Dale