By: Hamza Shafique
I have not read the book so can’t tell how much it’s different from the book so my review would be purely from a movie perspective.
As far as the overall treatment and flow of the movie is concerned. I enjoyed the starting act where they are being acquainted. It’s super sweet and imaginative. Addition of an astronaut gave otherwise simple dialogues a different dimension. Middle act where they realize their love and run to Hawaii is also above average with some good romantic moments on screen. I wish here director had explored more layers of Olly’s personality and explained why he is attracted to Maddy. Last act where everything is revealed, feels rushed and seems like author was out of ideas on how to end the movie.
J. Mills screenplay and Stella Meghie’s direction felt like a direct translation of the book. Sometime things which appear interesting in 300 page book might not be equally entertaining for a 100 minute on screen show. In a book adaptation soul job of a film maker is to identify such elements and adjust them for big screen. Screenplay writer J. Mills and Director Stella Meghie failed in this and this is the main weak point of this romantic tale. Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg are excellent in their part and are the saving grace. I am so amazed with today’s young actors and their ability to bring so much depth in their performances at such a young age. Amandla Stenberg portrays shyness, sweetness and courage all at the same time with perfection and has very charismatic screen presence. Nick also impresses with his portrayal of a boy who grew up and matured early because of his circumstances. He definitely has bright future in the industry. Rest of the cast is decent as well.
As I mentioned earlier, this movie suffers at the hand of weak screenplay and ordinary direction but thanks to sincere performance by the lead duo still manages to shine. I don’t want to be gender biased but I believe this movie will appeal more to women than men. For women, this movie could be a 3/5 stars and for men, it could be 1.5/ stars, I will take the middle approach and go with overall 2.5 stars.