Everything Now, a vivid portrait of mental illness

Sophie Wilde in Everything Now

Everything Now centers around a British teen, Mia (Sophie Wilde), who is coming out of 7 months in a treatment center. She has anorexia. Her struggles to get better are the heart of the series. Around her are her friends, each with their own problems, and her troubled family. It felt like a realistic picture of this particular mental illness and its effect on the people who love someone suffering with it.

Everything Now as a title reflects Mia’s list of things she wanted to do NOW when she came out of the hospital. When she entered the treatment center, her friends were watching movies and playing board games. In seven months they had advanced to sex and drinking. She had a lot of catching up to do. Her list included going to a party, breaking the law, getting drunk, getting kissed, and other things teenage kids think signify growing up.

Mia was on a strict eating plan and carefully monitored by her father (Alex Hassell). Her mother (Vivienne Acheampong) and brother (Sam Reuben) were less good about making sure she stuck to her meal plan. When her dad moved out, she started lying about eating again.

Mia surrounded by her friends
Loyal friends make a difference

Mia had a terrific group of long-time friends. Do actual anorexic teens actually have such a strong social network? Her friends included Cam (Harry Cadby), Will (Noah Thomas), and Becca (Lauryn Ajufo). New friends joined this group as high school romances and connections flourished. Alison (Niamh McCormack) sort of accidentally became Mia’s girlfriend after a drunken night of breaking the law. The person Mia really liked and wanted was Carli (Jessie Mae Alonzo).

The series was casually queer. There was no big deal about which gender anyone wanted to be with. No agonizing coming out. It was just how it was with no issues around anyone’s choices. At least that aspect of mental health was smooth for the teens, even though there were significant other problems in their lives.

The performances from this group of mostly novice actors were very good. Ripley Parker, at the tender age of 21, created the series. The writing was outstanding. Mia’s internal self-talk, which we heard in voice over, painted her illness with bold, clear strokes. The directing was also clear and uncomplicated, with Alyssa McClelland, Dionne Edwards, and Laura Steinel among the directors.

Sophia Wilde and Jessie Mae Alonzo in Everything Now
Mia with Carli

Mia was never presented as perfect. She could be cruel. She lied about her progress. She was awkward around people and had trouble communicating. Dr. Nell (Stephen Fry), her therapist, never coddled her. He spoke plainly about her progress and the dangers she faced daily. As he educated Mia about her problems, he also helped me as a viewer to understand the illness.

Despite the subject matter, the series was not dark and depressing. There were moments of humor, of light, and of hope.

This 8 part series is on Netflix. I thought it was extremely well done.

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