Director: Michael Leven
Authors: Amy Reed and Ben York Jones. Based on the bestseller of the same name by Jennifer E. Smith.
Manufacturer: Matt Kaplan
Executive Producers: Max Siemers, Matthew Janzen, Aubrey Bendix, Jennifer E Smith, Christopher Foss, Jordan Fisher, Ben York Jones
Pour: Jordan Fisher, Talia Ryder, Ayo Edebiri, Nico Hiraga
After starting their relationship with a pact to separate before college, Clare (Talia Ryder) and Aidan (Jordan Fisher) have achieved the inevitable: their last night together as a couple. On an epic last date, they rewind their relationship and wonder if they should stay together or keep their promise to say goodbye forever.
Teenage drama can run the gamut from dark and gritty to warm and fuzzy to syrupy and sweet. On the spectrum of cinematic sweetness, Hello Ggoodbye and everything in between falls squarely on the sugary side – light and fluffy and easy to enjoy.
Based on the book by Jennifer E. Smith, the film is neatly segmented according to its title. Beginning with the “Hello, Early Doors” we witness Clare and Aidan sweetly meet; The two share a natural chemistry that culminates in their sparking a relationship. However, with only a year left before they graduate and go to college, it seems like a temporary relationship. Faced with Clare’s fear of ending up heartbroken, she sets pragmatic boundaries that Aidan agrees to, hence the separation pact; The two promise to end things warmly before life takes them in different directions. The night before Clare leaves for college, they skip goodbye and embark on a nostalgic date, reliving their most memorable moments together. As they go through the biggest hits of their relationship, each activity leads to “everything in between” flashbacks.
Comes from the popular To all boys Franchise, producers Matt Kaplan, Max Siemers, Aubrey Bendix and Christopher Foss know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to teen romance movies. Director Michael Lewen and writers Amy Reed and Ben York Jones proved they got the job too; At 90 minutes, the film is tight and orderly, well shot and well written. Featuring a cute couple who are clearly meant for each other, positing the possibility that the relationship won’t last and adding some fun shenanigans that only seem to happen in a teen movie, Hello Ggoodbye and everything in between contains many popular tropes of its genre.
Though the goal of breaking up might seem like a differentiator on the surface, the writers are sure to stick with what works — as the story unfolds, it still hits all the classic beats of a traditional teen romance. Though wholesome and charming – idyllic in many ways – the film could have afforded to sacrifice a bit of that neatness and charm in order to be more relatable. With a perfect looking couple who always manage to say the absolutely funny things, have an adorably perfect relationship, and are surrounded by loving families and perfectly supportive friends, it can all seem a little too perfect – a little contrived at times. Tension is difficult to build as issues never really feel worrisome; Although it aims for bittersweetness, the bitterness is diluted by the sheer sweetness of everything else.
The cast brings to life archetypal characters that would otherwise have fizzled out. Aidan is the epitome of the perfect boyfriend (he even serenades Clare), and Jordan Fisher is effortlessly charismatic in the role. To To all boys and work it, Fisher has turned the charming teenager into an art form. Talia Ryder, on the other hand, gives a strong performance as the logical, sometimes cynical Clare, torn between her head and her heart. Ayo Edebiri steals every scene she’s in as spunky, supportive Stella; She brings so much life to the screen that it’s a shame her character didn’t get a chance to appear a few more times.
Because the biggest obstacle to the couple’s happiness was self-imposed, and ultimately the cost is trivial, the film is basically a low stake. Teenage drama is a saturated playing field, and since the film focuses primarily on the relationship, it swims on a superficial level, missing an opportunity to explore deeper themes that could really set it apart from the crowd. What is offered is, to use Clare’s catchphrase, a “slightly airy” watch – just right for those looking for a little carefree escapism. Hello Ggoodbye and everything in between is a candy bar of a movie – a sweet, bite-sized snack that’s a treat for any occasion, can be a pick-me-up on a bad day, or just the icing on the cake of a good day.