It’s Maddy Whittier’s (Amandla Stenburg) 18th birthday, but she won’t be celebrating the occasion at a party or restaurant. In fact, she won’t be leaving the house or even have friends over anytime soon.
That’s because she has SCID, a rare genetic disorder that makes her allergic to everything.
Consequently, she’s been living inside a hermetically-sealed house after she was diagnosed with the illness at the age of 3, shortly after her father and brother’s untimely deaths in a terrible car crash.
Fortunately, Maddy’s mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose), is a physician who can afford to raise her in a sterile environment, free of the agents that could compromise her immune system. Maddy grew up curious about the outside world, but she learned to explore it by using the internet, together with the help of online courses and a support group for children with her disorder.
Then, Maddy receives the best birthday gift she could ever imagine when new neighbors move in right next-door. The family’s son, Olly (Nick Robinson), is a boy about Maddy’s age, and after seeing her from his window, he falls head-over-heels in love with her.
Olly uses sign language to ask Maddy for her phone number, and then types “U R beautiful” in his first text to her. After he learns about her rare disorder, he asks if there’s any way he could be decontaminated to come over for a visit.
However, that’s against Maddy’s doctor’s orders, so the couple is forced to communicate with each other from afar. Needless to say, Maddy quickly becomes discontented with her sheltered existence in her antiseptic gilded cage.
Will she recklessly abandon her protective bubble to rush into the arms of a neighbor she barely knows? That is the burning question at the heart of Everything, Everything, a bittersweet movie based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon. The picture was directed by Stella Meghie who successfully adapted the book into a movie that is certain to satisfy fans of the book.
Excellent (****). Rated PG-13 for mature themes and brief sensuality. Running time: 96 minutes. Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures.