Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) lives with her mother Pauline (Anika Noni Rose) a local doctor in Los Angeles. Maddy suffers from a rare disease called SCID, Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, which prohibits her from leaving her airtight, spotless house, for if she did the most simple virus could kill her. Her father and older brother were killed in a car accident leaving behind Pauline and Maddy to live life together alone. After 17 years indoors everything seems like the same day after day until one day when she sees a new neighbor moving in next door. That’s when she notices a young man, Olly Bright (Nick Robinson) moving in with his sister and parents and from that very first moment from a distance their eyes locked and there was chemistry.
Beside her mother Pauline, no one other than her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) and her daughter Rosa (Danube R. Hermosillo) were allowed to see Maddy in person. That is until Carla broke the rules and let Olly come in to meet Maddy, not telling Pauline of course. Maddy has always wanted to see the ocean and spend time floating in the waters something she knew she would never experience because of her illness. The closer Maddy became with Olly the more she wanted a normal life and when they kissed for the first time Maddy knew she had to make a change. It wasn’t as if she chose death but she really wanted to know what it was like to live. When she ran away with Olly to Hawaii she got to fulfill her lifelong dream and she did it with the boy she fell in love with but it did not take long before she took ill. From this moment forward the truth behind a mother’s love was revealed which impacted Maddy’s life forever.
The film never really seems to have any peaks and valleys but instead just kind of travels on flat road for over 90 minutes. The direction could have helped step up the situations and the writing although not horrible contains some less than dramatic moments that could have been deeper to pull on the heart strings of the audience. They did use a different on screen method of text communicating that I have not seen before though and I did kind of like it. The film does have a good soundtrack and some good photography but overall it never seemed to really pick up steam except for the big twist and turn in the story.
Stenberg is the star here and really does a nice job with what she has to work with. Robinson pretty much takes a back seat to her from start to finish. Noni Rose plays the over-protective mom well and de la Reguera and Hermosilla have smaller parts but help to add some side lines into the story. The Astronaut (Sage Brocklebank) has a very small, significant symbolic reference to the story which at times adds a bit of levity. Overall the film was a bit slow and it could have used a better director or maybe could have made a better impression on the Lifetime channel.