The Sky is Everywhere is a study in grief from director Josephine Decker. When a teenage girl’s older sister dies it throws her into a crazy spiral of grieving. Also explored are other family members and the dead girl’s boyfriend’s ways of grieving. It’s a heavy topic but it’s treated with fantasy and magical realism.
The Sky is Everywhere stars Grace Kaufman as Lennie. She’s a high school senior and a brilliant clarinetist who intends to try out for Julliard. Lennie is very close to her older sister Bailey (Havana Rose Liu). Bailey dies suddenly from the same heart condition that killed their mother.
Lennie and Bailey were raised by their grandmother (Cherry Jones) and their Uncle Big (Jason Segel). Grandmother tends a rose garden with roses so beautiful and fragrant they make people fall in love.
Lennie stops playing music as she grieves. She copes using fantasy and imagination where people fly, houses fall from the sky, and people sing in the streets. The fantasy sequences are vivid and colorful and ultimately hopeful.
The whole family is grieving, but Lennie is so wrapped up in her own pain, she doesn’t notice.
Bailey’s boyfriend Toby (Pico Alexander) seems to be the only one who understands her pain. They get too close in ways that aren’t healthy. Both of them keep pulling back.
Lennie meets another band student, Joe (Jacques Colimon). He likes her and does his best to get her to playing music again. After some fits and starts, they become a couple.
As the weeks and months pass, Lennie becomes better able to deal with the daily grief that she realizes will always be with her. She looks around at the pain others feel from the lost of Bailey. She realizes there is love and music still in her life. It’s not exactly a happy ending. Instead, Lennie survives.
The common wisdom is each person grieves in their own way. That is illustrated in this film beautifully. Lennie is a wreck – inconsiderate, selfish, full of blame in her suffering. Realizing others are suffering too helps her gain strength.
Grief is a universal human experience. I’m always interested in stories about how different people deal with their bereavement. Lennie’s story is worth a look. See it on Apple TV+.