The teen romance drama “Everything, Everything” made its debut on May 19th to an eager buzz. Fans of the book, of which the movie is based on the same name, had high hopes; people were elated about an interracial couple onscreen; I was just excited to see Amandla Stenberg in a major film again. I was more impressed to hear that the author of the book, Nicola Yoon, is black! And Stella Meghie, the director, is a black woman too!
If you haven’t heard already, here’s what “Everything, Everything” is about:
Amandla Stenberg plays Maddy, an 18-year-old girl who is confined to her house for life because of a rare immune disorder. Her life is predictable and mundane, but that all changes when Olly (played by Nick Robinson) moves in next door with his family. As luck would have it, Maddy and Olly’s bedroom windows face each other. They develop a close friendship and quickly fall in love, communicating mainly through text messaging.
As Maddy copes with her blossoming feelings for Olly, she starts to push the limits of her confinement in an effort to become physically closer to him. As tension runs high within Maddy and Olly’s lives, Maddy is faced with a choice: does she risk her life for the boy she loves, or quietly return to the daily routines she had before?
Amandla Stenberg is convincing as a naive but intelligent teenager who’s never stepped outside. They give Molly an awkward and hopeful demeanor as she navigates a hopeless romance. Nick Robinson gives Olly a cool vibe, while also being enticing and humorous.
You’ll notice while watching the movie that race is never mentioned. Maddy never talks openly about her blackness, but she doesn’t reject it either. I was happy to see that Maddy wore her hair in a natural fro in one scene, and a bun in the next. Olly never mentions their racial differences either, nor anyone else in the film–the reality of their differences are normalized.
The overall aesthetic of the movie is also just calming, if not stunning. Maddy’s simple wardrobe of muted yet bright colors come to mind, as well as the brightness of her house complemented by the trees outside. The scenery and colors of the movie become more memorable as the movie progresses. If you don’t like “Everything, Everything” for the storyline, you’ll appreciate it for its cinematography.
Creative liberty was also applied to Maddy and Nick’s conversations. Vintage diners is just a snippet of where the audience is transported to in this film. If you love magical realism, please go see this movie.
At the heart of it all though, is a black girl who’s a sick bookworm who becomes dangerously and courageously carefree. The pureness of Maddy and Nick’s relationship warmed my heart, but it’s Maddy’s bravery that I predict will stay with me for a long time.