Every Day (2018)
★ / ★★★★
I am all for movies that aim to deliver messages of love and being open to it regardless of its source, but “Every Day,” based on the novel by David Levithan and adapted to the screen by Jesse Andrews, is repetitive, boring, and tonally flat. For a plot involving a consciousness waking up in a different person’s body each morning and eventually coming across a romantic interest who is a seemingly perfect fit, there is a lack of magic and urgency in the material. I felt so tormented by the ordinariness of it all that at some point I wondered what would happen if the body of the person that houses the consciousness of interest got into a terrible accident and died. Would the movie have been over then?
Angourie Rice plays Rhiannon, the high school student that the consciousness, called A, falls for—and she with him or her. She is perhaps the only saving grace in the film because her face is expressive yet look closely and realize there is almost always something going on underneath the more obvious emotions being played in a scene. This is particularly noticeable when Rhiannon must engage in challenging conversations with her parents (Maria Bello, Michael Cram) due to the increasing tension in the household. She must be respectful while imploring them that they need to get it together for the sake of their family. The subplot of the parents not seeing eye-to-eye is more interesting than the fantasy, or gimmick, on the forefront. Perhaps it is because the conflict is more rooted in something real. The father is prone to manic episodes.
The presentation involving the different bodies and faces of A (Jacob Batalon, Nicole Law, Colin Ford, Lucas Jade Zumann, Owen Teague are five standouts) feels like a silly parade. It rests on the question of how A might look like the next day rather than being involved in the emotional journey of its main players. Obviously, due to the nature of the story, one of the challenges of the screenplay is to find a way so that the viewers are able to connect with A despite the fact that he or she does not own one appearance. It is clear that the writer fails to overcome or circumvent this hurdle when every other scene is an exposition rather than a progression of a high-concept plot. Close your eyes and listen to the dialogue. It sounds like a watered down made-for-TV movie.
And for a movie about teenagers with specific sexual needs, the material is afraid to go down this route and explore. It is not courageous enough to risk offense or generate intense conversations. How can we treat the subject with interest and sincerity when the screenplay is afraid to tackle subjects that are relevant or important to the lives of its subjects? As a result, a veil of charade and a whiff of dishonesty linger—deadly to romantic dramas. High-concept pictures do not thrive in safe play.
Directed by Michael Sucsy, “Every Day” offers an experience to be endured. The premise promises imagination, but I hope that teenagers who decide to watch the picture would be brave enough to leave in middle of it and continue to live their lives. Because real life is certain to offer more insight than this painfully generic, shallow waste of opportunity.