There are as many ways to live life as there are people alive. Living life to the full is possible for every person. What is different is what constitutes our “full.” My “full” is different from yours but that doesn’t make it any less “full.” As a believer, I know that every life is precious and has infinite value, created and loved by God.
When I heard about the new movie, Everything, Everything, it was advertised as “from the studio that brought you Me Before You.” As that was a pro-euthanasia film, I was hoping Everything, Everything wasn’t more of the same, reinforcing the culture of death, as St. John Paul II put it. Thankfully, it is not. That doesn’t mean it’s a great film, however. A better movie in the same vein is The Fault in our Stars.
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg, Rue from The Hunger Games) seems like an ordinary 18-year-old young woman until she tells us in voice-over form, that she’s never been outside. She has SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency, so her body can’t fight off normal bacteria. Allergic to the world, her mom (Anika Noni Rose), a doctor, has provided a sealed, sterilized home, where only her nurse, Carla (Ana de la Reguera), and a few others are able to enter. Maddy seems to roll with her fate, making the best of her situation until new neighbors move in next door and she sees Olly (Nick Robinson).
The film could have been a tedious presentation of text messages back and forth between Maddy and Olly but director Stella Meghie presents the two as conversing face-to-face in life-size versions of places Maddy has designed in her online architecture classes. Soon, Maddy convinces Carla to let Olly visit in person while her mom is at work. The two slowly fall for each other and when Maddy witnesses Olly being abused by his dad, she runs out to his rescue, risking her health.
Everything, Everything is pretty predictable as Maddy is willing to risk it all to experience life and be with Olly. A horrifying twist in the third act turns the film dark and the issues it raises are never addressed. The story pretty much falls apart at that point.
Ultimately, the film is really about living life as God has gifted it. That includes dealing with sickness, loss, love, and whatever else God has in store. With faith and trust in the Lord, no matter what the situation, living life to the full is possible.
About the Author
Sister Hosea Rupprecht is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious community dedicated to evangelization with the media. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto and an MA in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis.
Sr. Hosea is director of the East Coast office of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, based in Staten Island, NY, and speaks on media literacy and faith to catechists, parents, youth, and young adults. Together with Father Chip Hines, she is the co-host of Searchlight, a Catholic movie review show on Catholic TV. Sr. Hosea is the author of How to Watch Movies with Kids: A Values-Based Strategy, released by Pauline Books & Media.
For the past 15 years, she has facilitated various film dialogues for both children and adults, as well as given presentations on integrating culture, faith and media.