I had no idea what I was getting into when watching Turtles All The Way Down. I knew it was based on the John Green novel. Green also wrote “The Fault in Our Stars”. Which, if you have seen the film, had me in all of my feels. All I knew from the trailer was that it seemed like there was a girl who was struggling with inner demons, she meets a boy, and things go happily ever after. It’s a John Green novel…I should’ve known better.

Turtles All The Way Down introduces us to Aza Holmes (Isabela Merced). She’s a 17-year-old girl who suffers from a form of OCD I was never aware of. For the lack of a better explanation, she is tortured by her thoughts on bacteria. That involves food, touching, and cleanliness of all kinds. Holmes is incredible in this role. She had me heartbroken and rooting for her. I want to be someone who believes she can do anything she wants while struggling with this lifelong disorder. Seeing her struggles and strengths was equally heartbreaking and inspiring.

Cree (The Sleepover) as her best friend is also a great voice for the audience, and for those who may know someone struggling. While we always want to be there for our friends we have to remember that it takes a toll on us as well. Then, there’s the side plot that this very much along the lines of one of my favorite teen movies, Say Anything. You think the story is going one way, and then it doesn’t. So, one of Aza’s old friends from summer camp father’s has disappeared. He’s wanted for fraud and left his two songs alone while he’s run off. So, what starts as a play for reward money turns into so much more.

Felix Mallard (Ginny & Georgia) plays Davis Pickett, Aza’s long-lost camp friend, and son of a felon. He is the catalyst for Aza trying to push past her limitations and trying to live a normal life. Mallard could have chemistry with a tree. So, it’s no surprise that he’s oozing with charm and likeability throughout Turtles All The Way Down.

The film is directed by Hannah Marks who is one of my favorite young directors today. If you haven’t seen Banana Split or Mark, Mary, and Some Other People fix that. She picks great projects to bring to life in a smart, enjoyable way. I can’t wait to see what she works on next.

Turtles All The Way Down debuts Thursday, May 2nd on Max. I’m truly disappointed that this film doesn’t get a full theatrical run. It’s not very often that a Young Adult film isn’t just about a teenage love story. I would put Turtles All The Way Down up there with Juno and Ladybird. This film is truly special and deserves to be seen on the big screen.