Film Review: “Everything, Everything”

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson and Anika Noni Rose
Directed By: Stella Meghie
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 96 minutes
Warner Bros. Pictures

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

“Everything, Everything” is going to draw a lot of on the surface comparisons to John Travolta’s “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” and Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Bubble Boy.” It’s fair and unfair at the same time to make that comparison. It’s true that all three movies are about an individual, who’s basically allergic to life, overcoming the odds. But “Everything, Everything” is a lot more heartfelt and genuine, instead of cheapening its main character’s journey with low-brow humor or made-for-TV melodrama.

Maddy (Stenberg) suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Instead of a stereotypical bubble, her life is confinement inside her mother’s airtight home. Pauline (Rose) is a doctor that keeps constant watch and care over her daughter. Maddy seems defeated with the possibility that she’ll ever be able to explore the outside world. She limits her exploration to books she reads, online group chats with other kids who suffer from SCID and busying herself with architecture designs for an online course. Maddy’s wanderlust is sparked by a new neighbor, a loner, and uncharacteristically handsome boy, Olly (Robinson).

“Everything, Everything” is smart for recognizing that teen conversations no longer come in the form of passed notes, lengthy late night phone calls or basic interpersonal dialogue. The two connect over text and Internet, but “Everything, Everything” packages these heart-to-hearts cleverly. The movie plays out the conversation like they’re talking face-to-face, but in the realm of Maddy’s mind and in the playground of one of her architecture models. When the two finally do meet, they awkwardly communicate for the first time using words from their mouths and not with their thumbs.

The film’s sweetness is never overbearing and the cute relationship that developments is wholesome, while still maintaining a foot in reality. Maddy begins to yearn for life outside her sterile home while Olly is discovering there is hope in his miserable life. We subtly learn that his father is abusive, and that his mom, sister and he are emotional prisoners. Maddy and Olly find solace in each other. But alas, there’s a problem with the movie. It lacks courage.

The final act of this movie nearly sinks all the film’s good intention. For obvious reasons, I can’t talk about the ending, but I admit to being ignorant to the twist because I was expecting a unique ending, specific to the movie I was watching unfold. While the ending may have worked for the book this movie is based on, it doesn’t work in the movie. There was a decent shot at making “Everything, Everything” another “Fault in Our Stars” story, but the writers, of both the book and movie, lack the grit to deliver upon their character’s initial moxie.

Despite its flawed, cop-out ending, “Everything, Everything” finds it’s sensibilities in the relationship that develops between the leads. It’s faithful to their emotions, as well as their flawed humanity, although it’s a bit peculiar watching teenagers talking and acting so sincere without an underlying sense of dishonesty. Sometimes logic be damned when two teens are in love, or in this case, when the script calls for it.

Nick Robinson talks about “Jurassic World”

Nick Robinson made the leap from the critically acclaimed indie Kings of Summer (2013) to starring in the number one movie of this past summer, Jurassic World. The smash hit features Robinson playing teenager Zach, one of the nephews of park operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). Zach, along with his brother Gray (Ty Simpkins), are left to fend for themselves when Jurassic World is overrun by the escaped Indominus Rex. After a quick visit with promotional raptor “Zulu” on the show floor, Zach sat down with me at this year’s New York Comic Con to discuss making the blockbuster.

Lauren Damon: What were your favorite scenes to film?
Nick Robinson: I think my favorite scene to film–one of my favorite scenes to film just on like a practical side was the moment when we open the doors to the old visitors center. Just because that was so cool to see what they were able to think up…Like all the set decoration was like so specific and it was cool to see 22 years later what kind of damage had ensued in this place. And then also the scene where Gray and I are in the back of the veterinary unit and we have to fight off the raptors. That was really fun to shoot just because I felt like an action hero. The whole thing was shaking and we had to like roll a barrel off and stab ’em.

LD: The movie is twenty-two years old and you’re only twenty can you remember the first time you encountered the original? 
Robinson: I don’t know if I remember the exact first time that I encountered it but pretty young. I’d probably say–I remember like at least by like seven or eight having seen it a few times and it’s just a great film. Like all of Spielberg’s stuff, Amblin films, it’s just got real timeless qualities and you know as soon you’re getting into it you’re just going to see something good. You know, John Williams knows how to throw some notes together…it’s just a great movie-going experience.

LD: Did you spend a lot of Ty Simpkins when you guys were cast as these brothers?
Robinson: Yes we did. I think it was by design…From the first day we got to set to when the first day we actually shot it was like about a month and so Ty and I got to just hang out just without any pressures of a camera rolling, and we just got to know each other so that helped a lot.

If you could make a hybrid dinosaur, what kinds of animals would you throw in there?
Robinson: That’s a good question. Maybe a pterodactyl and a raptor with some like falcon and tiger thrown in there for good measure. Just make like the deadliest thing of all time.

When the sequel eventually gets made, how do you see your character fitting in?
Robinson: Maybe Zach goes into train under Owen [Chris Pratt’s character] to be a Navy SEAL and then you know he gets trapped in a love triangle [laughs] between someone and someone so we’ll see what happens. Just an idea…it’s brainstorming.

Working with Chris Pratt was there a lot of jokes being pulled?Robinson: Yes. Yes. That man is like a–he’s a machine, he’s got like an improv brain like nobody I’ve ever met before and he’s…It’s just you never know what is gonna happen. And every day it’s just really fun because he makes it that way. He kind of leads by example and so it was yeah, pretty fun.
Any examples you can share?
Robinson: Um…an appropriate example, I mean, he ate a bug one time. For twenty bucks he ate a bug. Yeah.
Who’s twenty bucks?
Robinson: Who’s twenty bucks? Uh, not mine!

Being we’re at Comic Con, are there any superheroes you’d ever like to play?
Robinson:  Maybe Iron-Man just because he’s got a bad ass suit and that would be fun…
Not Star Lord?
Robinson: Well okay I don’t wanna take that–That’s…that’s Chris. But yeah I’d probably say Iron-Man. This is my first time at Comic Con and I’ve seen a lot of the films killing it right now.

Jurassic World is available to own on blu-ray on October 20th.