Review by Camden Ferrell
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is a new young adult romcom that is based on the book of the same name by Jennifer E. Smith. This movie will debut on Netflix and serves as the feature directorial debut of Michael Lewen. Even if it has a pair of charming leads who work well together, the movie can’t ever seem to rise above the tired tropes of high school movies and romcoms and ultimately underdelivers on what could have been an adorably simple story.
Claire and Aidan are two high schoolers who have fallen for each other, but they both made a pact to break up before heading off to college. However, when the time comes, they go on one final epic date to retrace their relationship and learn about themselves in a new and unexpected ways. Taking place predominately in a single day, this movie has a sweet and simple set up that had the potential to dive deep into the forces that attract and maintain love.
Unfortunately, the movie is never really concerned with the more human or engaging aspects of romance and connection. It opts to instead tell a pretty superficial story about a high school couple navigating their final moments together. Going into this, I was expecting a teenage version of Before Sunrise, but instead it feels too similar to a myriad of other high school movies that say the exact same thing. This is disappointing considering the script was written by Ben York Jones and Amy Reed, the former of which wrote the endearingly adorable film Like Crazy.
One of the better aspects of the film is its leading couple. The film stars Jordan Fisher who many people know from his various film, TV, and Broadway roles. He has always been a charismatic actor even if his range is somewhat limited, but this role seems tailor-made for him, and he fits in quite well with the character. He is joined by co-lead Talia Ryder who has been a supporting actress in great films like Never Rarely Sometimes Always. She has some good chemistry with Fisher and shows of her acting chops occasionally in what will hopefully be the first of many leading performances.
My main qualm with the movie was how it felt needlessly drawn to the same tropes and clichés of the genre instead of exploring the more reserved and realistic side of human relationships. For a movie with a simple and intimate premise, it doesn’t feel like it was executed as such. It does little to set itself apart from other high school romcoms, and it finds itself hitting the same plot beats for what ultimately becomes a pretty uninspired film.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between had all the elements for a bittersweet and wholesome young adult relationship movie, but it ends up being yet another teen romcom amongst a sea of others. It has strong leads, a great premise, and the writing talent, but none of these factors ever come together to make something engaging, emotionally moving, or particularly memorable.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is streaming on Netflix July 6.