Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Love outside the bubble: “Everything, Everything”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | May 31st, 2017

WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Everything, Everything.”

Planted squarely in the heart of YA-adapted teen fantasy, Stella Meghie’s film of Nicola Yoon’s 2015 novel “Everything, Everything” doesn’t always capitalize on its absolutely bananas premise, but logs excellent mileage from charming lead Amandla Stenberg.

Following in the contaminant-free footsteps of “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” and “Crystal Heart” (but not so much “Bubble Boy”), the story follows Maddy Whittier, confined for 18 years to the sealed safety of her protective physician mother’s (Anika Noni Rose) designer home.

Diagnosed with SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency), the rare genetic disorder made famous in part by Ted DeVita and David Vetter, Maddy falls for boy-next-door Olly Bright (Nick Robinson), and decides to risk her life for her new love.

The cases of DeVita and Vetter, which inspired Randal Kleiser’s made-for-TV movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” fueled popular interest via the medical ethics and built-in pathos of children who could not experience one of the most basic human expressions: skin-to-skin contact with their own family members.

Maddy’s circumstances are less severe, as she spends time in face-to-face proximity with both her mother and her longtime nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera).

Meghie, working from a screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe, filters the viewing experience through Maddy’s eyes, coming up with some visually appealing ways to supplement the text balloons that commonly convey contemporary communication in cinema.

“Everything, Everything” is not the sort of exercise that holds up under close scrutiny, and those viewers preoccupied with logic over lovemaking will come away disappointed. For example, Maddy’s compliant and well-adjusted attitude incongruously clashes with her curiosity about the world and her place in it.

She verbally cites internet access as a balm, but given the wealth and resources at her mom’s disposal, one might imagine that a desire to explore the world outside would have at least inspired some mother-daughter conversation about ways to make that happen (the presence of a fantasized astronaut alludes to the space suits worn by DeVita and Vetter when they ventured outside their “bubbles”).

And even if the acquisition of a credit card is easy, Maddy’s reckless flight to Hawaii would require state-issued identification, something Maddy lacks (as pointed out by Susan Wloszczyna) if, as emphasized, she has never left the house.

The potentially predictable twist that Maddy does not, in fact, truly have SCID but has been cruelly imprisoned by her unstable mom, is the bombshell that rips the largest hole in the tale’s credulity -- not because it lies outside the realm of possibility, but because the film seemingly can’t be bothered to develop Rose’s Dr. Pauline Whittier as a complex and complete character.

In spite of the lapses, “Everything, Everything” effectively navigates the romance at its rapidly beating heart. Stenberg and Robinson flirt and kiss and communicate and show concern for one another with the earnest intensity of a thousand true-blue TV couples, making the most of lines like “When I talk to him, I feel like I’m outside” and “My life is better with you in it.”

From “Love Story” to “A Walk to Remember” to the more recent “The Fault in Our Stars” and “The Space Between Us,” the familiar contours and durability of the illness and/or health-risk meet-cute genre finds no shortage of contestants, but the presence of the progressive Stenberg, a self-described “intersectional feminist,” brings to “Everything, Everything” a welcome blast of fresh air.  

Recently in:

Sophia Wilansky says she’s lucky she’s right handed. Since nearly losing her left arm from an exploding projectile on Backwater Bridge one year ago, cooking has become a tedious art. She can no longer be involved in circus…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…