‘Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between’ review: a tacky teen romcom you won’t miss

Trust us, it's better to bid these characters farewell early

Can logic really override love? That’s the not uninteresting premise behind this well-meaning teen romance based on a young adult novel by Jennifer E. Smith. Sadly, despite twinkly lead performances from Talia Ryder (Never Rarely Sometimes Always) and Jordan Fisher (To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You), it’s hampered by an execution that’s flat, fussy and self-conscious. Only the most hopeless romantic will be able to invest in these characters for very long.

When Claire (Ryder) and Aidan (Fisher) meet-cute at a high school house party, she’s charmed by his casual confidence and perky karaoke rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’. They hit it off immediately, but after sparks fly at their impromptu first date, she lays down some ground rules. Claire doesn’t want to be tied down when she goes to college – her future is far too important to her – so they make a pact to break up right before this happens in 10 months’ time. As soon as it begins, their romance has an end date hanging over it.

First-time director Michael Lewen rushes through their relationship highlights in a cliché-laden montage that shows the couple frolicking in a lake, watching an ice hockey match and twirling sparklers at a fireworks night. Not for the first time – and certainly not for the last – Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between feels a bit too twee to be realistic. At times, Lewen makes this film so glossy and softly lit that it recalls one of those cheesy American TV ads that end with a disclaimer that the product in question may cause hair loss and/or bloating.

It doesn’t help that Clare and Aidan feel more like types than real people, at least to begin with. She’s self-contained and reluctant to make friends because she’s moved school so many times; he’s a golden boy who dreams of being a musician but is destined to follow his parents into medicine. After initially treating their besties Stella (Ayo Edebiri) and Scotty (Nico Hiraga) as window dressing, the film fleshes them out a bit after the halfway mark, which adds some depth and a welcome dash of queerness. Even at its most flimsy, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between has a fundamental sweetness to it.

Still, the bulk of the film is devoted to Claire and Aidan’s final date: the one where they break up before college. He recreates special moments from their relationship in a last-ditch effort to change her mind, but it’s hard to be moved by Aidan’s grand gestures when we barely saw any of their romance to begin with. Because of this major structural flaw, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between never really tugs at the heartstrings. It barely lasts for 75 minutes, but this film still feels like a drag at the finish.

Details

  • Director: Michael Lewen
  • Starring: Talia Ryder, Jordan Fisher, Ayo Edebiri
  • Release date: July 6 (Netflix)
Advertisement

More Film Stories:

Advertisement