Written by Becca Johnson
Directed by Josephine Decker and based on the novel of the same name by Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere tells a story of first love and first loss. Radiant and musical seventeen year old Lennie Walker struggles with grief following the death of her older sister Bailey, and though she's drawn to charismatic new guy Joe Fontaine, she also has complicated feelings for her sisters devastated boyfriend. Though it has imaginative visuals and a lead character worth rooting for, the story truly lets this movie down.
The performances luckily make The Sky Is Everywhere watchable. Grace Kaufman is exceptional in the lead role as Lennie, a character who is dealing with a tremendous amount of grief. Jacques Colimon was charming as love interest Joe Fontaine, becoming a perfect suitor for Lennie. Cherry Jones and Jason Segel seem like the perfect casting for Gram and Big, Lennie's Grandmother and Uncle, but unfortunately they have a very limited amount of screen time. In the novel they play a large part in Lennie's journey, so it's a shame that element hasn't been translated to screen well enough.
Where the movie excels is within its portrayal of grief. Lennie makes questionable decisions and feels things that she knows she shouldn't, but the script allows us to understand that people grieve in different ways. She may push away the people closest to her and find solace in the wrong individuals, yet the story allows her to grow, her character arc is the highlight of the movie and is pushed even further by Kaufman's performance. The Sky Is Everywhere also has interesting visuals, letting Director Decker show of her signature style. The use of bright and colourful cinematography will keep you invested when other elements falter.
Unfortunately, the story is what lets the movie down. It isn't as gripping as it should be, and although you try to invest in the main character, the script leaves a lot unsaid and forces you to want more. It makes sense for the story to focus on Lennie, but it unfortunately pushes other characters to the sideline, especially Gram and Uncle Big who could have interesting character arcs. The script also tells us little about love interest Joe and his personal life; every area is begging for more development. It tries to say something profound but there's only so much the camera and visuals can do.
Unfortunately, The Sky Is Everywhere is another middling young adult novel adaptation that fails to pack the punch that it attempts. Though the story is lacklustre, it may be worth watching on a rainy day for its visuals and promising performances; Grace Kaufman emits star power here, proving herself as one to keep an eye on. For those who show a keen interest in reading, the novel may be the more enjoyable way to go.