Everything, Everything Parent Review
This story has all the cute and kitsch ‘tween girls swoon over – and that a problem considering the messages of the movie.
Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) is a young woman with SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency), a medical condition that renders her body unable to fight off any infections. Although the illness means she must live in isolation in order to avoid contact with germs or viruses, she still enjoys stimulation through books and the internet. Her protective single mother (Anika Noni Rose), who is also a physician, provides medical care plus a state-of-the-art home to keep her daughter’s environment sterilized. And Maddy has the loving company of full-time nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera). Really, the eighteen-year-old doesn’t want for anything, anything.
However, her resignation toward having no contact with the outside world is tested when she notices the family moving in next door has a son about her age. Olly (Nick Robinson) may dress in bleak black and wear his shaggy hair with a rebellious attitude, but he has a bright smile when he sees her peering from the window. Within days the two are making eye contact as often as possible, and then begin texting back and forth. As the interaction and attraction grows, Maddy desires more. Eventually, she is even willing to risk everything, everything.
What follows is a sentimental sequence of bashful meetings facilitated by Carla, puppy-love style frolicking, and secret romantic gestures that catch the attention of Mom. When the cautious parent threatens to put an end to any more flirting with the forbidden fruit, Maddy and Olly run away together.
Based on a book by Nicola Yoon, this story has all the cute and kitsch ‘tween girls swoon over – and that is exactly the biggest problem with the movie. This target audience will likely be just as naïve as the main characters presented here, and fail to recognize the negative consequences associated with Maddy and Olly’s behaviors. And it doesn’t help that the film never shows the dangers of lying, using a credit card irresponsibly and engaging in an “unprotected” sexual relationship (implied after a steamy scene of passionate kissing). In fact, the plot suggests it’s the adults who are out of touch with reality.
Along with being predictable and tedious, other content of concern is a few swear words and scatological slang, reference to a father with a drinking problem, the depiction of a squabble that ends with punches being thrown, and domestic abuse.
While it is natural for young adults to want to exert their independence, the 18-year-old couple depicted here are reckless, even if the script calls their actions brave. After reflecting on the film’s messages and trying to come up with something positive to say, I really could think of nothing, nothing.Directed by Stella Meghie. Starring Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose . Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release May 19, 2017. Updated May 22, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Everything, Everything here.
Everything, Everything Parents Guide
Maddy has been kept apart from society all her life. What knowledge might she be lacking that would hinder her ability to make good choices? How do you feel about the decisions she makes in this story?
How do you feel about Maddy’s decision to leave her sanctuary? Would it be better to live a long life in confinement or a short life that allowed you to have greater experiences? How might Maddy have tried the “experiment” of leaving in a safer way?
What are Maddy’s mom’s motivations for protecting her daughter? Are they justified? Why does she seem disconnected from Maddy’s desire to have relationships? Are there other ways Maddy could have challenged her mother? In what ways does Olly’s mother show a similar disconnect with the needs of her children?
Maddy and Olly engage in sexual activity soon after their relationship begins. How well do they know each other? What consequences may result from their choice? Do you think the portrayal of Maddy’s first sexual experience is accurate or is it made to look more wonderful than it might have been?
When talking about relationships, Olly quotes his mother as saying, “Love makes you crazy.” In what ways does love make his mother behave in a crazy manner? How does the emotion affect him and Maddy? Does love need to make a person crazy? How might this powerful feeling be managed and controlled?