It's a really sweet, cute, simple teenage love story.
Some of the surrounding details are stretched to the point of
incredulity in trying to focus so much on the sweet, cute, simple teenage
love story. But you have to
give them credit for staying focused, and with a sense of humor, even.
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is 18 years old and has never been outside
her house. She has some severe
auto-immune disease, and her mother is a doctor who has the means and the
obsession to keep Maddy in complete isolation.
The only people she knows, other than her Mom, Pauline (Anika Noni
Rose), are her nurse, Carla (Ana de la Reguera), and occasionally, Carla's
daughter, who's going off to college.
That's a pretty small circle of personal contacts.
Maddy has been educated entirely at home, and she really knows how
to use the computer. And she's
good at architectural models. But
she longs to breathe the air outside, hear the birds, feel the sunshine,
and....jump in the water. Even
though she can't swim. She's
missed out on so much of life, but seems resigned to her fate.
Until there's a new boy next door.
Olly (Nick Robinson) first comes into contact with Maddy's
household by bringing over a bunt cake from his mother.
Pauline lies and tells him Maddy's not home.
But Olly knows better, because he's just seen her through their
conveniently-adjoining bedroom windows.
No, nothing prurient here. Nobody
flashes anybody. This is just
all innocence and naivetee. He
manages to start a texting conversation by writing his phone number on his
window pane. And so Maddy
finds herself---for the first time in her life---texting a boy.
And she's enjoying this. So
much so that she imagines them actually talking in person (and the movie
helps us out by showing the viewers her imaginings, rather than having us
sit there reading their texts).
While Maddy's never really done anything before, Olly is not
exactly a man of the world, either. He's
moved around a little bit, we later learn, because his father's had a hard
time hanging on to a job. We
see the Dad out on the driveway a couple of times, and the impression
isn't good. So in his own way,
Olly is just as needy for something pure, sweet, innocent, and charming.
Which is exactly what Maddy provides for him.
Against Mom's wishes, Carla arranges for Olly to actually come over
and speak to Maddy. And after several awkward exchanges, we feel their
romance bloom, but of course Pauline is having none of this, and has
expressly forbidden it.
Will Maddy find a way to live life despite the cocoon?
Will they ever find a “cure” for her disease?
Will Olly and Maddy experience the kind of true love that includes
a spat or two?
OK, so it doesn't have a lot of depth.
Nor does it have a lot of explanation for the practical objections,
like where the money's coming from, or why some outside people aren't a
medical threat but others would be. But
ignore all that, and “Everything, Everything:” is a sweet, cute,
simple, teenage love story. You
could do a lot worse.