Our streaming services are full of these kinds of movies (and shows), and since most of them are mediocre at best, you get a little sick of them. Press Play and Love & Gelato are two recent examples – both extraordinary – and there are probably others you’ve added (or are considering adding) to your watchlists.
Michael Lewen’s Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is the latest romance to hit Netflix, a rather bland effort starring Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder as the two teenage protagonists. Both of them are capable actors but fail to showcase the full range of their acting talents with a thinly layered script that features some excruciating lines of dialogue.
The film begins and ends predictably, with nothing to distinguish it from other high school romances in this oversaturated genre. If you’ve read and liked the Jennifer E. Smith novel Young Adult it’s based on, you might be more invested in this one, but otherwise, this might be a movie you say goodbye to before pressing play.
Fisher and Ryder play Aidan and Clare, two high school seniors planning their next steps after graduation. The characters meet at a Halloween party and immediately bond. They make fun of each other’s costumes—Clare pokes fun at Jordan’s attempt to dress up as Ferris Bueller, and he scoffs at her hastily thrown-together “party monster” outfit—and then go on a hike together, where romance quickly blossoms.
Clare is resistant to the relationship because she worries that Jordan will ruin the prologue for the rest of her life. She doesn’t want her love for another boy to get in the way as she plans to go to college. Jordan has her own college plans, though she seems to be a bit more flexible than Clare when it comes to dating.
After a brief discussion about the best way forward, the two decide to make a deal. They agree to date for a year and then break up before both go their separate ways. They decided to say goodbye with one last epic date before their relationship ended forever. What could be wrong?
As you can imagine, this is not a plan designed to work! After the “hello” part of the movie ends, time moves forward and we meet Aidan and Clare on their last day together. On this date, they return to the locations of their year-long romance, and we get a short montage of the events that unfold. After these “in-between” moments, it finally comes to a parting of ways. But Aidan isn’t too keen on letting go of the girl he’s in love with.
Do they decide to stay together? Well, it can be said, but since the script doesn’t offer much in the way of character development, you won’t really care. We spend a lot of time with Aidan and Clare at the beginning and end of their romantic years, but the “in between” bits are missed. Thus, their romance is not realized in any meaningful way. This is a big problem because they are both attractive people, we never understand why they want to be with each other.
During their year-long relationship, the scenes between the two were mostly uninteresting and in some cases quite poorly written. At one point there’s an extended conversation about farting, and Clare walks away in a huff when Aidan refuses to admit he broke the wind. I guess the screenwriters were trying to make their conversation “realistic”, but listening to the two of them talk was just ridiculous.
The clichés in this movie look like gibberish. Aidan wants to go to music school, but his parents want him to go to medical school instead.
How many times have we heard this before?
How many times have we seen a movie where one main character tries to fulfill the dreams of another? The film’s extreme familiarity is another reason why it doesn’t work and struggles to stand out from all the other YA romances you’ve probably already seen.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the genre, you probably won’t mind the familiar plot lines and predictability of the whole enterprise. But if you’re looking for originality, you won’t get much here. The ending threatens to surprise us, but then there’s a twist at the last minute and we realize that the film isn’t as fresh as the director probably wanted it to be.
If you want a fun teenage romance, there are better movies out there, so give this one a miss. The Fault in Our Stars, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist are just some of the movies that deserve your time. Compared to Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between, this isn’t a movie you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with unless you’re very romantic.