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Isolated teen falls for her next-door neighbor in ‘Everything, Everything’

Kam Williams
Isolated teen falls for her next-door neighbor in ‘Everything, Everything’
Amandla Stenberg stars in “Everything, Everything.” (Photo: Photo: Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures)

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 having friends over anytime soon.

At a glance

“Everything, Everything”

The verdict: Excellent (4 stars)

Rated: PG-13 for mature themes and brief sensuality

Running time: 96 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

That’s because she has SCID, a rare genetic disorder that basically makes her allergic to everything.

Consequently, she’s been stuck inside a hermetically-sealed house since being diagnosed with the disease at the age of 3, shortly after her father and brother’s untimely deaths in a terrible car crash.

Lucky for Maddy, her mom, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose), is a physician who could afford to raise her in a luxurious, if sterile, environment free of the germs that could compromise her immune system in an instant. Although Maddy grew up curious about the outside world, she’s gotten used to exploring it over the internet with the help of online courses and a support group for kids with her sickness.

Then, Maddy receives the best birthday gift she could ever imagine when new neighbors move in right next door. For, one member of the family, Olly (Nick Robinson), is a boy about her own age. And all it takes is a glance through the glass window for the handsome hunk to fall head-over-heels in love with her.

The ardent admirer uses sign language to ask Maddy for her phone number, before typing “U R beautiful” in his very first text. Olly’s zeal only increases upon learning about her crippling affliction, and he asks if there’s any way he could be decontaminated to come over for a visit.

But that’s against doctor’s orders, especially mom’s, which forces the lovebirds to admire each other from afar. Hormones raging, Maddy is suddenly discontent with her sheltered existence in an antiseptic gilded cage.

Will she recklessly abandon the protective bubble to rush into the arms of a perfect Prince Charming she barely knows? That is the burning question at the heart of “Everything, Everything,” a bittersweet bildungsroman based on the young adult novel by Nicola Yoon. The picture was directed by Stella Meghie who successfully adapted the book into a syrupy soap opera certain to satisfy fans of the source material.

A tender enough tearjerker to dehydrate even this crabby curmudgeon!