This young adult drama just landed on Max — and it has 92% on Rotten Tomatoes

Isabela Merced in Turtles All the Way Down movie on Max
(Image credit: Max)

A new month always brings new content on one of the best streaming services, and Max is a popular platform that currently has plenty to offer. You can now stream the third season of “Hacks”, with more upcoming dramas in this month’s slate such as “Pretty Little Liars: Summer School” and “The Iron Claw”. But there is one movie you should watch that recently landed on Max.

The movie in question is “Turtles All the Way Down”, a romance drama based on John Green’s novel of the same name. Isabela Merced assumes the leading role, and you might know her from movies like “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”, “Madame Web”, and “Instant Family”. She is also starring in the upcoming horror project “Alien: Romulus”, so there’s no doubt about her talent. In fact, critics who saw early screenings of this movie heavily praised Merced.  

If you’ve seen this movie appear on Max, you might be wondering whether it’s worth your time. I’m here to talk more about “Turtles All the Way Down” and reveal what the critics are saying about it. 

What is 'Turtles All the Way Down' about? 

“Turtles All the Way Down” focuses on 16-year-old Aza Holmes (Isabela Merced) who is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She’s trying to be a good person, all while learning and coping with countless intrusive thoughts she can't control. The endless battle in her own head makes living life to the fullest even more challenging, especially when she’s determined to be a better student. 

This movie highlights the struggles of OCD and anxiety disorder in teenagers. On the outside, Aza seems like a normal girl living an ordinary life, but on the inside, she’s being drained by hypervigilant and uncomfortable thoughts. 

However, when she reconnects with her childhood crush Davis (Felix Mallard), she has the chance to grow with love and happiness. But the constant battle with her mental condition could disrupt everything positive in her life: friendship, hope, and love.

'Turtles All the Way Down' reviews — what the critics are saying

“Turtles All the Way Down” has a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 97% (as of May 3). This score is really good for a movie that has only just landed on the streaming platform. 

Kate Erbland from indieWire said: “Being a teenager? It’s not for the faint of heart. Being a Green teen? Well, at least someone is treating you like an adult. The latest Green adaptation, “Turtles All the Way Down,” offers yet another sterling example of that mindset and the power of it.” Meanwhile, Guardian’s Adrian Horton praised the movie because it “manages to bridge the vast and the daily minutiae of high school life with relative aplomb.” 

Many critics appreciate the accurate portrayal of OCD and how Merced delivered a raw performance. Jennifer Green from Common Sense Media said: “This drama based on popular author John Green's novel is an emotional rendering of mental illness, and its young leads offer a very sympathetic portrayal of teenagerhood.” 

However, not all critics are going to love the movie. Paste Magazine’s Autumn Wright stated that “the screenplay always rushes to return to a baseline humorous tone—which isn’t the only time it feels like some force is flattening Turtles All the Way Down.” 

Should you stream 'Turtles All the Way Down' on Max? 

Isabela Merced and Felix Mallard in Turtles All the Way Down movie on Max

(Image credit: Max)

According to the praise from critics, yes, you really should stream “Turtles All the Way Down”. This movie provides an accurate representation of OCD and anxiety, with Merced fitting into the role perfectly. She’s able to capture the inner struggles of the mental condition and show that on screen, all while navigating a newfound romance with her childhood crush. 

John Green is one of the most famous authors who has had his work turned into critically acclaimed movies and TV shows. Some examples include “The Fault in Our Stars”, “Paper Towns”, and “Looking for Alaska”. If you’ve seen these and want to watch another young adult drama, then don’t hesitate to add “Turtles All the Way Down” to your list. Even if you’ve never heard of John Green and his previous works, you can still enjoy his latest hit on Max. 

“Turtles All the Way Down” is available to stream on Max now. We also have a guide on all the new shows and movies to watch this month

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Alix Blackburn
Staff Writer, Streaming

Alix is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, which basically means watching the best movies and TV shows and then writing about them. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Screen Rant and Bough Digital, both of which sparked her interest in the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing about the latest movies and TV shows, she’s either playing horror video games on her PC or working on her first novel.