Everything, Everything is fatally faithful to the book

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (Stella Meghie). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (May 19). See listing. Rating: NN

Having seen Everything, Everything, I have just one question: did that ending work in the book?

I mean, it must have, otherwise Nicola Yoon’s YA novel wouldn’t have been a bestseller and Warner wouldn’t have made the movie. But… well, seriously. That ending sucks.

Until that point, though, Everything, Everything builds a sweet teen romance out of Yoon’s tale of restless Maddy Whittier, an 18-year-old who’s spent almost her entire life sealed in her germ-proofed home to protect her from infection. That is, until the charming Olly moves in next door with his family.

In her studio debut, director Stella Meghie (Jean Of The Joneses) and screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe (The Age Of Adaline) pare the book down to the relationship between Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) and Olly (Nick Robinson), finding inventive ways to stage conversations that take place through texting or an online chat window.

Keeping the film laser-focused on those two makes sense, because it locks us into Maddy’s perspective and has us rooting for her happiness even as she’s constantly reminded by her overprotective doctor mom (Anika Noni Rose) that a relationship is something she can’t ever have. It’s easy to empathize with her impetuousness haven’t we all, at some point, been so amped up on hormones and attraction that we’d risk our very existence just to hold someone’s hand?

But then there’s that goddamn ending, a rug-pull that might have worked on the page but does not play at all on the screen, no matter how hard the cast tries to sell it. It ruins everything. Everything.

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