Another movie taken from the pages from a YA novel, is this romantic excursion Everything, Everything. I’ve stopped treading so lightly to these Young Adult fests, having been thoroughly pulled into the treatments of The Fault of Our Stars, Paper Towns and, episode by episode, the dystopian-ness of The Hunger Games and Divergent.
So I settled easily into the seat next to my dear wife Karen among the couple dozen watchers of all ages gathered for a 2:10 p.m. Saturday showing at a medium-sized theater in the Regal Cinemas chain in Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA.
Taken from the pages of novelist Nicola Yoon and scripted by J. Mills Goodloe for director Stella Meghie, Everything, Everything differs from the many of the above offerings by going with a pair of main players with somewhat less star power.
Amandla Stenberg plays Maddy, an 18-year-old who’s spent her whole life battling a genetic disease that basically cripples her immune system. She lives daily with a blessing and curse at home. Mom, seriously potrayed by Anika Noni Rose, is a doctor who can provide her with a darn nice house from which she can’t leave, a careful and caring nurse who ventures into the friend zone played with an open-heart by Ana de la Reguera, and endless advice about what can’t do if she wants to live on.
Enter new next door neighbors at the front door with a Bundt cake. Maddy’s eyes light up from her window seat at the sight – and thought – of Ollie, a hunky teen played by Nick Robinson with good, long hair and nice intentions that emerge as the pair start a texting relationship.
Teens being teens, they both want more. Especially Maddy, who longs to actually go to the ocean, which can’t be so far from this gorgeous SoCal neighborhood.
So far, not bad, as Goodloe uses some fantasy scenes to keep their texting from boring the heck out of every generation in the audience. Soon, though, not even Olly’s great heart, Maddy’s teen spirit and a shared sense of adventure are enough to keep the story rolling along in my soul.
A twist that turns mom from overprotective to something entirely different takes the tale totally off the rails.
It goes from cute to cumbersome for this no-longer-Y A.
Too bad. The kids really were all right.