Olly is an intriguing and mysterious character. Since he was ten years old, his life has been spiraling into cynicism, as his father changed from being trustworthy to fearsome. Olly has withdrawn from his abusive father, and although he is still protective of his mother and sister, he lives in relative solitude, often removing himself from the action to be an outside observer.
Olly is strong and athletic, having built his physical strength to defend himself and his family against his father. When Olly first begins to communicate with Maddy, he is all bravado, bordering on egotistical. This bold display is a mask that he wears to portray himself as confident and self-assured to hide his helplessness. Olly’s feelings of weakness are the result of being unable to fully protect his mother from his father’s abuse. As Olly’s love for Maddy develops, he extends his efforts to provide safety to her, and Olly punishes himself when he feels that he has let Maddy down.
Olly is thoughtful and philosophical, contemplating mathematical theory and analyzing moments in his life to try to make sense of how they influenced his current existence. He looks to the universe for answers, creating his model of a universe on his rooftop sanctuary. The night that he shares his sculpture with Maddy, he begins to expose his vulnerability, which he continues to do in Hawaii until he has shared more with Maddy than he has shared with anyone else. Olly’s complete openness is a declaration of love because he is finally unguarded in the presence of another. In the final scene, Olly has softened, and he no longer wears all black. The love that he experiences with Maddy gives him the confidence and safety to let down his emotional guard and remove his tough exterior.