‘Hello, Goodbye’: On Netflix, a teen love story that’s sweet, wholesome and lighter than air
Likable couple treat themselves to one last epic date before their planned breakup in rom-com based on a YA novel.
Every character in the Netflix teenage rom-com “Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between” is just so nice that we wish them all well, but we’re not fully convinced there’s enough here for an actual movie. When the sketchiest person in the entire story is Mom’s new boyfriend who alludes to “being kicked off the City Council” before singing the praises of Mom’s almost too-good-to-be-true daughter, well, there’s not a whole lot of conflict going on. This is a sweet and simple story featuring a likable group of actors, and if you’re in the mood for a wholesome take on the “One Last Crazy Night” theme, it’s quite … OK.
Based on the novel of the same name by YA author Jennifer E. Smith, “Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between” kicks off with Talia Ryder’s Clare and her best friend Stella (Ayo Edebiri from “The Bear”) attending a costume party in a sprawling suburban home in I guess we’ll call it America Land (the movie was filmed in Manitoba and British Columbia, but these kids don’t seem to be Canadian).
“We’re going to do karaoke,” says the outgoing Stella, to which the more reserved Clare responds “No, we’re not,” and before you can say Meet Cute, Clare has bumped into the charming and handsome and self-confident Aidan (Jordan Fisher), who is dressed in a Ferris Bueller T-shirt and vest and, yep, Aidan sings, “Twist and Shout” just like Ferris did, and Clare is smitten, and romance is in the air.
Netflix presents a film directed by Michael Lewen and written by Ben York Jones and Amy Reed, based on the novel by Jennifer E. Smith. No MPAA rating. Running time: 84 minutes. Available now on Netflix.
Ah, but here’s the thing. Clare has just moved back to town after attending six schools in three states because her mother keeps looking for love in all the wrong places, and she’s skeptical about love while being quite practical about the future, so Clare and Aidan make a pact: They’ll date throughout the rest of senior year and the summer, with the agreement they’ll break up once it’s time for college. What could possibly go wrong? Or right? Or Everything in Between?
With pop confections such as Mallrat’s “Groceries” (“I’ll go if you go, if you’re cool with that, I’ll go if you go, I have hope that you know that”) helping to set the table, Clare and Aidan have a wonderful, magical, innocent, PG-rated good time together and there are declarations of love — but when it’s time to part ways, they’re still sticking to the script. They’ll have one last, epic, 12-hour date in which they revisit all the touchstone moments in their relationship, and then they’ll say goodbye and good luck.
The characters tend to talk in a self-aware fashion, as if they know they’re in a teen movie, and there are scenes of ice skating and boat rides and waving sparklers around and dancing and more dancing and some light kissing, and now it’s time for another pop tune, and it’s all over in about 80 breezy minutes. There’s not much in the way of “Everything in Between” in this story. It’s really just hello and goodbye and, well, you can figure out the rest.