Thoughts on Everything, Everything.

This isn’t a movie review of the latest teen romance “Everything, Everything.” It’s not even an in-depth analysis of it. What I can say is romance movies aren’t my cup of tea, but I kinda liked this one.

A quick aside before moving on: I did not read the book, so some things I appreciate about the movie may be unwarranted. Second, I am aware of the problematic presentation of disabled people. But if you want to inquire more about that, you can read this great article from Teen Vogue.

“Everything, Everything” is an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon. It’s about the relationship between Maddy, who has a disease that prevents her from leaving her house, and Olly, the new boy-next-door. When adapting any source material, things can definitely be tricky. And again, I didn’t read it so I’m not exactly sure how this was presented in the book, but the way in which the filmmakers brought to life the texting relationship between Maddy and Olly was so cool.

As tech evolves to become more significant to dating and relationships, especially in the early stages, it’s crucial for filmmakers to present texting/online messaging/etc. in a way that isn’t boring. For some movies, just watching the actor text and having a visual of the text convo can work. I think of Miley Cyrus’ coming-of-age movie “LOL.” We got a few scenes of Cyrus giggling as she texted her love interest. And for quick moments like those, it worked.

However, “Everything, Everything” is about a relationship that fully develops via screen-to-screen. And because of this, it was crucial to present Maddy and Olly’s conversations in a way that 1) didn’t bore the viewer and 2) validated their words. I mean, how else could two teens fall for each other by rarely speaking in person?

I hope you understand that was meant to be sarcastic.

In the movie, Maddy and Olly’s texting are manifested as the two actually chatting face-to-face. Still, we know it’s texting because, among other cues, they are plopped into the architectural models Maddy creates for her online architecture class. By adapting the convos this way, the audience is able to illicit the same emotions they would by watching a real-life conversation: taking in facial expressions, watching posture, listening for tone of voice.

And when the time comes for Olly and Maddy to actually meet in-person, it is of course awkward. But it’s also a little flirty. Sound familiar?

“Everything, Everything” has a lot of stuff going on that we could talk about, but across the board, what the story speaks widely to is that it is the norm for relationships to not develop in-person. Yes, the reason for Maddy and Olly being forced to get to know each other through text is fairly unique, and lot more serious. Nevertheless, how many tweets have you seen about online stalking someone you think is cute? How many of you get mad if your significant other doesn’t list they are in a relationship with you on their social media profiles? How often do you like someone’s Instagram that you’re interested in?

The online/tech/social media world matters for dating. Seven million people use Tinder every month, according to an article by Bustle. Pew Research Center reported that from 2013 to 2016, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who use online dating increased from 10 percent to 27 percent.

And when you’re a high schooler busy with school, sports, extra curriculars, and the imminent struggle of hormone-ridden teen angst, texting makes it way easier to get to know that cute guy/girl/etc. from history class.

“Everything, Everything” helps normalize establishing a relationship with someone over text. And though I 100 percent believe genuine human interaction is vital to a real relationship (i.e. in-person convos), I do think it’s pretty sweet to see the power of words. Because yeah, some heart eye emojis in the comments of your selfie can feel pretty good, but so does seeing “I love you” (or something of that nature) pop up on your phone.

Others thoughts:

  1. Though inevitably cheesy at times, “Everything, Everything” wasn’t overly sappy like its peers.
  2. I’m pretty sure Amandla Stenberg is going to take over the world and I can’t wait.
  3. It’s been cool that Nick Robinson isn’t sticking to just one genre of films. Being in a teen romance gives me hope that he won’t just do action-adventure movies (“Jurrasic World”) because I really love “Kings of Summer.”
  4. Thank god for some racial diversity.
  5. I may be a little out of practice, but I did NOT see that plot twist coming (and was stoked).