×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Everything, Everything’ Criticized for Inaccurate Portrayal of Immunodeficiency Disorder SCID

Spoiler warning: Do not read ahead if you haven’t seen “Everything, Everything.

The recently released romantic drama “Everything, Everything” has drawn criticism from the immunodeficiency community for its inaccurate portrayal of Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, or SCID.

The film, which is based on a 2015 novel, stars Amandla Stenberg as Maddy, a young woman who has been diagnosed with the genetic disorder and is forced to spend her life indoors in a sterilized and controlled environment. But after falling in love with the neighbor boy, “Melissa & Joey”‘s Nick Robinson, Maddy begins to question the veracity of her disease, only to discover her mother (Anika Noni Rose) hasn’t been entirely honest with her.

The Immune Deficiency Foundation released a press statement this week pointing out several errors in the depiction of the disease. According to the statement, which contains spoilers, the very premise that Maddy is forced to spend her life indoors is unlikely to have been prescribed as a treatment for SCID.

SCID is an extremely rare genetic disorder which causes infants to be born without crucial white blood cells, and leaves them highly vulnerable to infection from bacteria. The disease is curable, but requires a bone marrow transplant, which isn’t always successful. That’s what happened to David Vetter, the boy whose story was featured in the 1976 TV Movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” which popularized the idea that those with the diagnosis must be kept in sterile environments at all times. Vetter died at the age of 12 after his bone marrow transplant was unsuccessful.

In addition, Maddy often describes herself as “allergic to the world,” which also reflects a poor understanding of the disease. Allergies are a result of over-activity of the immune system, whereas SCID patients have no immune system whatsoever.

Most important, however, is the film’s insensitivity to the families of those who have the disease. By portraying Maddy as a victim of Munchhausen by proxy in the end, the film ignores the fact that many who seek a SCID diagnosis are dismissed as hypochondriacs, and that most parents of SCID children would do anything for their child to not have the disease.

Marcia Boyle, the president of the Immune Deficiency Foundation, said she wishes writers would actually do the research about diseases like these and that these kinds of depictions are outright cruel. “Even if they do the research and they’re not terribly concerned with being accurate, why would you trivialize and use as a prop mechanism these very serious diseases, where if they’re not identified and treated early, (the patients) die?” she questioned.

Boyle felt that because of the inclusion of the disease in the film, viewers would get a false idea of what the disease is. “Many people really don’t understand what these disorders are, so when they see something in a movie, many people are going to think you can have something like SCID and actually live the way this girl lived,” she claimed. “It’s totally false, our patients don’t live like that.”

“Everything, Everything” is in theaters now.

More Film

  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan in conversation at

    Shanghai: How Nuri Bilge Ceylan Sees the World so Differently

    At a masterclass on Thursday, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave the initial impression of being an austere and unwilling participant. Wearing heavy glasses, keeping his coat on, and responding to questions rather than offering a class, his manner suggested that he was difficult. In China as the head of the Shanghai International Film [...]

  • SpiderMan Far From Home

    Hollywood Takes on Italy's Vacation-Heavy Summer Season With Blockbusters

    With upcoming movies such as “Toy Story 4,” “Men in Black: International” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” Hollywood studios are finally taking the plunge this year and slotting their blockbusters in Italian cinemas during the summer, a time when residents traditionally hit the beach en masse. For decades, the studios withheld their [...]

  • Easy Money

    Netflix Orders 'Snabba Cash' Series Based on Hit Movie Franchise from SF Studios

    Netflix has ordered a six-part original series based on the hit Swedish crime franchise “Snabba Cash” from SF Studios. Based on Jens Lapidus’s bestselling novels, the series is set in Stockholm’s gritty criminal underground ten years after the events depicted in the “Snabba Cash” (“Easy Money,” pictured) movie trilogy. The society has become even more [...]

  • The Kings Man

    Film News Roundup: Disney Sets 'The King's Man' Spy Comedy for February

    In today’s film news roundup, “The King’s Man” and “A Kid From Coney Island” get release dates, and “Barry” star Anthony Carrigan joins “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” RELEASE DATE Disney has set its Fox spy comedy prequel “The King’s Man” for release on Feb. 14, 2020. Disney made the announcement Wednesday at its [...]

  • Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light

    Shanghai Film Review: 'Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light'

    The bombastic English title might sound like it describes some comic book sci-fi epic, but in “Shyrakshy: Guardian of the Light” our hero does not wear a cape but a weathered cap, and the light he guards is not an interstellar death ray but the flickering beam of a battered old movie projector. Prominent Kazakh [...]

  • Wanda Film's Zeng Maojun

    Shanghai: China's Once-Mighty Wanda Casts Itself in Role of Survivor

    The soundtrack for the introductory showreel at Wednesday evening’s Shanghai press event announcing Wanda Pictures’ annual line-up was aspirational and strangely defiant.  It began with Nina Simone crooning, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good,” and then continued with “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. “You [...]

  • 'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Fashioned 1980s'

    'The Souvenir' Costume Designer Put a Decadent Twist on Opulent ’80s Style

    Set against the backdrop of London’s early-1980s cultural renaissance, British auteur Joanna Hogg’s exquisitely sculpted and critically acclaimed “The Souvenir,” which A24 has been widening in platform release for the past month, follows film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her gradually destructive romance with the magnetic Anthony (Tom Burke). “We didn’t want a film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content