Movie Review: The Sky is Everywhere doesn’t operate well at any level. It’s a tonal mess with little technical achievement that feels natural. A mixed bag of performances as well.
To quote my neighbor to the north and avid Toronto Raptors fan, multi-Grammy winning artist Drake – I’m upset. Not because the Rams inevitably beat the Bengals in this week’s Super Bowl or that the Oscars snubbed Denis for best director and Alana Haim for best actress. I’m upset because The Sky Is Everywhere is a total collapse and has a dog in the race for what the worst film of 2022 could be.
Apple TV+ may not deliver the quantity of content that Netflix or HBO Max does, but I’ve found that the number of respectable releases is still high for a platform that takes a lot of banter from the media. Last year, they had the wonderful releases of Finch, Swan Song, The Velvet Underground, and others. That’s before diving into CODA, which was one of the three or four best films of last year and felt like the most obvious comparison for The Sky Is Everywhere heading into this release.
The premise of the film is simple, even if it is obnoxiously farfetched. Lennie is a gifted musician hoping to play her way into college. When her older sister suddenly and tragically passes away, she is stuck in a love triangle between her sister’s devastated boyfriend and a new classmate.
The Sky Is Everywhere is straightforward from the get-go in telling you that it’s not a normal movie. It has the rigorous editing and flashy flare that mixes tick, tick…BOOM! and a Disney animated movie. Its constant visual aesthetics, from the musical notes wisping through the school hallways to characters floating on a pier, are daunting and overbearing.
The film doesn’t let you stop and breathe for one second. Sometimes, that makes sense for a film. Uncut Gems lives and breathes in upping the tension every fifteen minutes. Just earlier this year, I wrote about how A Hero manages to subtly build the stakes as the plot progresses. Unfortunately for The Sky Is Everywhere, the hyper-imaginative state that the film lives in is window dressing for a film filled with an overwhelming amount of other half-baked concepts.
The constant mood swings in the film make for a tonal mess that can’t fully realize how self-serious it wants to be. It doesn’t carry the emotional weight it needs to be able to sufficiently depict the grieving process in a sincere and authentic way. I was shocked to see how blatantly insincere the film was about it’s subject matter in general. It felt like it wanted to capitalize on artificial, surface level emotions instead of forcing a viewer respond viscerally.
The plot doesn’t develop much during its overly long runtime. The only instances it bothers to sidestep visual flare is when it’s been circling itself and meddling for too long. Certain plot moments, specifically the ones in the band room, feel completely out of place from the rest of the film and are horrifically cringy.
The cast is bland and stale. Pico Alexander, the actor that portrays the sister’s grieving boyfriend Toby, is a walking corpse in his scenes. No style or authorship whatsoever. And that is mostly the case for each performance in this heaping mess. Mostly everyone felt out of place.
Honestly at this point, I feel bad. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about it that is nice. It does a fine job with a few of the technical and aesthetic shots. The colors are easy to look at. It reminded me a bit of Encanto for its color palette. Grace Kaufman and Jason Segel at least try to elevate the movie in some redeeming way. Segel feels like he’s in a completely different movie, but at least that movie seems mid-tier. He steals many of the scenes he is in.
Josephine Decker is going to get some praise for injecting life into this daunting screenplay, but honestly, it’s easy to see right through the gimmicks and tricks this film has to offer. I feel embarrassed by putting it in the same sentence as CODA earlier. And to wrap up my constant bashing, maybe learn to crosscut a bit better. The continuity editing going on here is abysmal.
I’m not sure how no one caught on to the plethora of issues this film had before it got released to the public, but they didn’t. Check it out on Apple TV+ if you wish, but I just can’t endorse it.
Stream The Sky is Everywhere on Apple TV+
Read reviews for more A24 movies from A Cinephile’s Corner
The Sky is Everywhere Cast and Credits
Grace Kaufman as Lennie
Jacques Colimon as Joe Fontaine
Cherry Jones as Fiona
Jason Segel as Big
Pico Alexander as Toby Shaw
Director: Josephine Decker
Writer: Jandy Nelson
Cinematography: Ava Berkofsky
Editor: Laura Zempel
Composer: Caroline Shaw
The Sky is Everywhere movie on Letterboxd
The Sky is Everywhere movie on IMDb