EVERY DAY: A YA Tale That Gets Lost In Its Own Ambition
You can't fault EVERY DAY for a lack of ambition - however, the film feels watered down by a breezy running time that doesn't allow for a deeper exploration of the body swap conceit.
The latest young adult adaptation to hit screens, Every Day, enters the genre with a unique twist. Based on the book by David Levithan, it gives an important look at loving someone for who they are inside, with the story wrapped in a fantastical little package.
The entity known as A wakes up every morning in a different body. They are never the same person twice, always the same age, and in the same area. As A says, “I know what makes each person different and what makes everyone the same.” It is a refreshing idea, and the love story here is meaningful because of its openness. However, with Every Day, its intentions are better than the sum of its parts.
A Spin On Young Love
Sixteen-year-old, fresh-faced Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) is the hopeful lead, taking over from the book which was from A’s perspective. When A wakes up in Rhiannon’s boyfriend Justin (Justice Smith), who is generally self-absorbed and clueless to her emotions, and she asks him to skip school and spend the day with her, A agrees. The two connect immediately, sharing a day that manages to disrupt every boundary and assumption A previously had.
But that’s love.
Rhiannon, meanwhile, is curious to her boyfriend’s sudden thoughtful behavior. She’s able to communicate about things she didn’t feel comfortable with before, and they share a real connection that had been absent. However, the next day, Justin doesn’t remember this and regresses to his indifferent self. After their time together, A continues to seek Rhiannon out, enamored. The first third is when the film really flourishes, as relationships often start- it is captivating and mysterious. Each day A finds ways to be around Rhiannon, before eventually sharing their secret. This explanation is given by one version of A, portrayed by the charming Jacob Batalon.
As A inhabits varying teenagers, the rule is not to change things. A regulation that gets broken multiple times throughout the movie. Most of this is in the name of love, but there is also a subplot revolving around a suicidal teen (Nicole Law) that is a bit rushed.
Once Rhiannon accepts the truth of A, she hungrily awaits to be called, wondering who they will be that day. In keeping with a modern audience, A also has a clandestine Instagram account, which they can communicate through regardless of the form A is taking. As a teenager love can already be difficult but falling for someone that doesn’t have a face or body that is their own, is especially challenging. Every 24 hours A has a new skin, but the feelings still remain for both parties. Can it last?
A Few Bumps In The Road To Happiness
Without spoiling the ending, which I felt was underwhelming, the couple faces the challenge of how they can do this, but also if they should. Is it right to take away someone else’s life for the sake of their love? There are often deeper musings within Every Day that only partially get portrayed, and even then, are clumsily executed.
No matter the face that A is wearing that day, their mutual attraction remains believable. There are many different performers filling the shoes of A, and they all manage to connect to one another in a convincing way. The magnetic Angourie Rice is the constant that the ever-changing role of A revolves around. She’s our center, grounding the film in a way that keeps it from completely going off the rails.
The pace of the movie is inconsistent, and Michael Sucsy’s direction tempts, but never fulfills. Jesse Andrews’ script doesn’t help move the film along, but instead manages to distract from the young talent on screen.
Most of the performances were engrossing, but there were so many actors as A that some were lost in the shuffle. The concepts at play were admirable, and in truth, my favorite part. While Every Day takes the first step towards their goal here, for love to rise above shape, race or gender, it’s still not bold enough. That confidence, had the film dared to fully embrace the idea, would have done the movie well.
I’m sure fans of the book, romances in general, and younger audiences looking for a date night will find Every Day to be satisfying. There is plenty here to sustain, but for me the problem was the lack of real sustenance.
Conclusion: Every Day
Whenever a book is adapted, it is forced into a condensed corner – but some stand out more than others. This is one story that I believe suffered from being stifled. With the 95-minute runtime it lacked the freedom needed to fully breathe.
Overall, I wish the film grabbed me a bit more. The hook was there, ready to bait me, but I could never quite feel smitten myself. The message was received, it just isn’t delivered in a way that sticks with you. While the implementation lacks complete sincerity and passion, Every Day is a modicum ahead of some its predecessors. If only there had been more, perhaps I could have fallen in love.
What did you think? Were you a fan of the book, if so- how did it compare? Let us know in the comments!
Every Day was released in US on February 23rd and will be released in the UK on April 20th. For more international release information click here.
“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” Read the Letter of Solidarity here. Make a donation to the legal fund here.