“Every Day” is a polarizing yet thought-provoking screen adaptation of David Levithan‘s bestselling novel about a 16 year old girl (Angourie Rice) who falls in love with a mysterious soul named A who wakes up in a different body every day. It’s a wholly bizarre film that blends a classic romance with modern social commentary, culminating in an end message that love not only conquers all but it outshines race, gender, and social status.
Not only is this an in your face reminder that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but it’s a poorly made film. The direction (by Michael Sucsy) is basic and distracting, with outdated camera shots and nonsensical editing cuts that are so jolting they detract from the film. Maybe that’s a good thing because it also draws your attention away from the cast of bland, dull teens, unappealing actors portraying unlikable, stale characters.
Some of the ideas of teen romance (holding hands while running and smiling; golly gee, this is perfect!) are portrayed like they are from the dream world of an 80 year old man who was courting his special lady friend in the 1940s. The directorial decisions and production values are so bad that for the first third of the movie, I thought it was a direct-to-video PureFlix project (it isn’t).
The storytelling is empty and hollow, the film rambles on far too long and overstays its welcome, the “why” is never successfully explained, but the premise is at least an interesting one.
Parts of the story reminded me of “13 Reasons Why,” especially the scenes dealing honestly with serious adolescent dilemmas. But where the exceptional Netflix drama succeeds is the same place where “Every Day” fails. Both bring up sobering (and sometimes life threatening) issues involving teenagers, but only one delves deep enough to make it truly matter. The most compelling plot points in this film are when A inhabits the body of a girl with disturbing patterns of self-harm and suicidal thoughts and when A is inside a transgender boy struggling with gender identity. These types of characters are so important when portraying a celebration of inclusiveness, yet here they’re just glossed over and quickly tossed aside.
The overall message is still a good one, it just deserves a better crafted vehicle.