The Sky is Everywhere is a Middling YA Tearjerker
A shy, teenage musician tries to keep things together in the aftermath of her older, more outgoing sister’s death.
The Sky is Everywhere, a new movie from the Apple/A24 collaboration that debuts Friday on Apple TV+ and some theaters, fits cleanly in with most films adapted from young-adult novels, as it itself is. It’s a combination of tragedy and romance, although The Sky is Everywhere does a much better job with the former than the latter.
Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Janny Nelson, who wrote the screenplay, The Sky is Everywhere is directed by Josephine Decker, whose last two film’s were 2018’s oddity Madeline’s Madeline and 2020’s very good Shirley Jackson biopic Shirley.
The Sky is Everywhere is the story of Lennie Walker (Grace Kaufman), a teenage girl still reeling from the sudden death of her older sister Bailey (Havana Rose Liu.) Living with her grandmother (Cherry Jones) and her hippie uncle (a ludicrously miscast Jason Segel), Lennie struggles to come to terms with her recent loss, when she falls into an unlikely love triangle.
The family drama is even against the backdrop of the protagonist’s audition for a music conservatory, just as in last year’s Apple TV+ hit CODA, although this movie doesn’t feel in any way whatsoever like an A24 release.
One of her suitors is Toby (Pico Alexander), who was the late sister’s boyfriend, while the other is Joe (Jacques Colimon), a new boy in town. Amidst it all, there’s a great deal of treacly music, along with a lot of lingering shots of flowers and, you guessed it, the sky.
Grace Kaufman does an admirable job carrying the film in the lead role. But when it comes to the movie’s two elements, the grief part is considerably more compelling. Kaufman successfully sells the pain of having recently lost a loved one, and the effect it would have on someone that young who has already suffered so much loss (her mother, also, had died when she was.)
The romance part is less effective, largely because it’s one of those movies in which the protagonist is choosing between Generic Handsome Guy #1 and #2. Neither of the romance plots comes close to achieving liftoff, and there’s even a climax involving a hot air balloon, bringing to mind Roger Ebert’s old Little Movie Glossary maxim about how “a good movie has rarely featured a hot-air balloon.”Watch The Sky Is Everywhere