An unexceptional teen romance that is barely worth your time
How many teen romances have you seen this year? Our streaming services are full of such movies (and shows), and as most of them are average at best, it might be that you’re getting a little bit sick of them. Press Play and Love & Gelato are two recent examples – both of them unexceptional – and there are probably others that you have added (or considered adding) to your watchlists.
Michael Lewen’s Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is the latest romantic movie to hit Netflix, a rather bland effort that stars Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder as the two teen protagonists. They are both capable actors but with a thinly layered script that features some excruciating lines of dialogue, they aren’t able to showcase the full range of their acting talents.
The movie begins and ends predictably, with nothing in between to make it stand out from any of the other high school romances in this over-saturated genre. You might be more invested in this if you have read and enjoyed the Young Adult novel by Jennifer E. Smith that this is based on but otherwise, this might be one movie you say goodbye to before you hit the play button.
Fisher and Ryder star as Aidan and Clare, two high school seniors who are plotting their next move after graduation. The characters meet at a Halloween party and immediately connect with one another. They ridicule each other’s costumes – Clare pokes fun at Jordan’s attempt to dress like Ferris Bueller and he mocks her quickly thrown-together ‘party monster’ outfit – and they then take a walk together, where romance quickly blossoms.
Clare is resistant to a relationship because she is worried Jordan will mess up the prologue to the rest of her life. As she has plans to go off to college, she doesn’t want her love for another boy to get in the way. Jordan has college plans of his own although he seems a little more flexible than Clare does when it comes to dating.
After a quick discussion about the best way forwards, the two decide to make a pact. They agree to date for one year and then break up before they both go their separate ways. They also decide to say goodbye with one last epic date before their relationship is finished forever. What could possibly go wrong?
As you can imagine, this isn’t a plan that is destined to work! After the ‘hello’ section of the movie is over, time moves forward and we catch up with Aidan and Clare on their final day together. During this date, they return to the places where they carried out their year-long romance and we get a brief montage of the events that played out. After these ‘in between’ moments, it finally comes to the parting of the ways. But Aidan isn’t that willing to let go of the girl he has fallen in love with.
Do they decide to stay together? Well, that would be telling but as the script doesn’t offer much in the way of character building, it might be that you won’t actually care. We spend a lot of time with Aidan and Clare at the beginning and ending of their romantic senior year but the bits ‘in between’ are rushed through. As such, their romance isn’t fleshed out in any meaningful way. This is a major problem as beyond the fact that they are both attractive people, we never get to understand why they would want to stay with one another.
The scenes between the two during their year-long relationship are mostly uninteresting and in some cases, quite poorly written. At one point, there is an extended conversation about farting and Clare walks off in a huff when Aidan refuses to admit he has broken wind. I suppose the screenwriters were trying to make their conversation sound ‘real’ but when listening to the two of them prattling on, their chatter just sounded ridiculous.
The clichés in this movie are just as eye-rolling as the inane conversations. Aidan wants to go to music school but his parents want him to go to med school instead. How many times have we heard that one before? And how many times have we seen a movie where one protagonist tries to make the other one follow their dreams? The movie’s over-familiarity is another reason why it fails to work and why it struggles to stand out from all of the other YA romances you have probably already seen.
If you’re a lovestruck fan of the genre, you probably won’t mind the familiar plot lines and the predictability of the whole enterprise. But if you’re looking for originality, you won’t get much of it here. The ending threatens to surprise us but then a last-minute twist happens and we realize that the movie isn’t as fresh as the director probably wanted it to be.
There are better movies out there if you want an entertaining teen romance so you should probably skip this one. The Fault In Our Stars, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist are just some of those movies that are deserving of your time. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between pales in comparison so unless you’re a die-hard romantic, this is not a movie that you are likely to fall head over heels in love with.