Hello dear readers! We are back with another instalment of the classic Book vs. Film. Today I will be discussing Everything Everything. The book is quite popular, and not too long ago I reviewed it. Spoiler, I was not too impressed. However, in some rare cases the film is better than the book, which is why I went to see it. Another spoiler, I was not too impressed with the film either. But that is not what this is all about. Here we talk about all the changes. The things done right and the things done wrong when it comes to adapting a novel. Enough with the chatter. Let’s get down to business.
In my book review, I mentioned that one of my problems with the book was the instalove. We’re not even 40 pages in and they are already in love after having just met. Well, the film basically has them falling in love within 5 minutes. Understandable, because the whole film revolves around their romance (more than her illness). But at least the book had some sort of build-up which the film lacked. I did not have time to get invested in their love story because it did not feel organic. If I can mention another book/film with similar theme, The Fault in Our Stars, there was an actual built-up. They slowly became friends and then lovers, even in the film. And I know that Maddy has to stay inside and they can’t physically meet often and do things. But still. It is difficult to care about a relationship if you do not believe in it in the first place.
From IMing to Texting
In the novel, Maddy and Olly communicate mainly by using IM messenger. Considering this book was released in 2015, I already thought this was rather peculiar. I honestly do not know a single teenager who communicates via IM. They all use whatsapp, so it felt rather dated. The film makers must have realised this too, as Olly and Maddy initially communicate via text (although I’ve been told texting is not cool either). Because a lot of their communication is via text, which is interesting enough in a book but not in a film, some of these scenes are acted out in the film. This is actually a positive aspect. Maddy imagines speaking to Olly in the world she has created for herself. Almost as if they are truly talking and getting to know each other like normal teenagers. Except for the random astronaut. I liked how they solved this issue in the film.
Nobody but Olly and Maddy matters
One thing I was disappointed in when watching the film was the absolute lack of any backstory. In the novel we learn that Maddy and her mother regularly have special nights together, which she often cancels after meeting Olly. I felt like the Maddy/Her mother storyline was completely missing from the film, except for the fact that it was quickly glossed over. Another issue I had was the lack of Nurse Carla in the film. In the book she is such an important character who helps Madeline in so many ways. While her role was not as pushed back as Madeline’s mother, I still missed her in a variety of scenes which I expected to be in the film.
Besides that, quite a lot of characters were actually completely missing. Mr. Waterman, Maddy’s teacher, is at least mentioned in the emails she receives. But in Maui they were supposed to meet with an old friend of Olly’s, who was actually a genuinely funny character, It just felt like too much of an Olly/Maddy overload.
There is an essential scene in the book which they could have done so much better in the film. A spoiler is coming. So stop reading if you do not want to know.
Are they gone? Good, let’s proceed.
When Olly and Maddy are in Maui, Maddy’s heart stops. In the book this is quite a dramatic moment and for a long moment you actually wonder whether she will make it. In the film, this essential moment contains zero tension at all. Maddy has her cardiac arrest, but a second later, we see that she is alive again. This could have been a crucial scene, yet they completely missed the point.
Apart from that, the moment Maddy finds out the truth does not feel complete either. She was supposed to find out the truth with the help of Carla, but Maddy is obviously super smart and figures it out on her own. In the book they actually make you feel sympathy for the situation Maddy’s mother has been in and her mental state. That is ignored in the film. They only mentioned that Maddy’s mother did not want to lose her after losing her brother and father. While in the book Maddy actually stays with her mother in the end, she doesn’t in the film. Basically the film kind of makes her mother seem like a bad person while it is so much more complicated.
Lack of depth
The film does not provide any depth for any of the characters. We learn that Olly’s dad is not nice, but the scene in which he hits Olly is not at all impressive. Besides, we never learn why he is angry or why Olly’s situation is so tense, which makes it peculiar that Olly and his mother and sister suddenly leave. We learn nothing about Maddy’s illness except that she is allergic to everything. That is it. Maddy’s mother is supposed to be grieving and sick in her own way, but this is not explained. By getting rid of a couple of characters, you’d think they’d have room to develop the characters they did keep. The result of all of this is that there is no character I connected with, which made me feel very distant from the story.
I am not going to talk about the resolution of the story, because I still feel cheated whether we speak about the film or the book. The thing the film did do better with the actual ending was making it feel like it was resolved more than in the novel. The novel has quite an open ending, and while the film does too, at least Maddy and Olly have a conversation which shows us that they are good.
I wasn’t a big fan of the book and thought it was rather mediocre. Same goes for the film. It is cute enough, but it is never exciting. I believe that there are so many more young adult books out there who are better and more interesting. Same goes for films. Even films based on books. Both the book/film are nice to have read/seen once, but neither one of them is very memorable.