The two charming leads shine in this ultra-realistic romance about young lovers whose connection grows during a time of unthinkable crisis. Written and directed by Hannah Marks and Joey Power, After Everything is much more than a stereotypical love story about a doomed patient and a selfless, caregiving lover. It's an exploration of the post-Girls generation of 20-somethings who work wherever (sandwich shops, hipster toothpaste companies) for a paycheck, then go home to get high, binge-watch with friends, and swipe left or right for their dating lives. Elliot and Mia offer typical but not stereotypical representations of being young, broke, and single in the city. White and Monroe are excellent at playing their flawed but appealing characters, and the couple's love connection is sweetly rooted in conversations, not just an instant-attraction-based hookup.
There's no The Fault in Our Stars twist here, but there's heartbreak just the same. The script makes it clear that relationships born out of intense, extraordinary situations can be difficult to sustain once the practicalities of domestic life set in, especially for people who are very different from each other. Pre-diagnosis, Elliot was something of a player -- spending his free time enjoying pick-up basketball games, playing video games with Nico, and having alcohol-fueled one-night stands with at least a dozen partners in the year leading up to discovering his tumor. Mia, meanwhile, is a straighter-laced introvert who passes on her stoner roommates' invitations to smoke up and watch true-crime documentaries. The duo's opposites-attract chemistry is palpable and poignant, so when things stop being swoon-worthy, the movie becomes awfully bittersweet.