While it would be easy to watch Every Day and suggest, as many have, that this is nothing but a sappy teen love story. One where you know exactly how it is going to end and what its lead characters Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) and A (Listing the actors would be frustratingly hard work) would get out of their time sensitive love affair. Saying these things would however, in my opinion, be detrimental to a film that has a plethora of things to say, just not enough time or real estate to say them. This is definitely aimed at a select market but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a kind-hearted, contemplative film with plenty to say.
Telling the story of the relationship between a sheltered, unsure of herself teenage girl (Rice) and a teenager who takes on the persona of someone new every day, a person who calls themselves A. While they contend with an understandably different kind of dating they must also handle the varied problems A’s meddling in others lives causes and the chaos that ensues because of their connection.
Every Day is a hard film to categorise and explain, it is part supernatural fantasy, part high school dramedy, a coming of age story as well as a romance. Much like many YA love stories recently, a fantastical spin has been employed to liven up a story we have all watched before. While the predictability is plain as day, this is a film of endings. The idea of where we end up, what we learn and how we affect those around us in the long run. It’s impossible not to admire the reach of the material even if it doesn’t stick the landing at times.
A potent and adept love story gives way to a less successful story of family disassociation and the rebuilding of a fractured group. Getting lost in the tunnel vision of teen angst of Rhiannon and A’s tempestuous relationship, director Michael Sucsy loses sight of half of his story. While he gives lip service to the family crisis through throw away dialogue, it isn’t a pressing concern despite setting up a film that makes it a focal point. It is both a film that feels overly concerned with the concept of love, just not the unconditional kind. Every Day has a talented cast of actors filling out important roles but ultimately ends up squandering the potential it has.
While Rice is a charming and empathetic lead, she is stuck in a lifeless role that only really revolves around A and the tunnel vision she displays along with the same concentrated focus of Sucsy means that she doesn’t feel real. The worries and fears we all have never really surface over a glossy of romance and film logic. Rhiannon gets wrapped up in her teenage romance and loses the girl she is as the film opens, she loses an identity outside of A and the man in her life. This was certainly not the intention but it is hard to ignore.
Where Every Day succeeds though is how it deals with identity outside of this story. The different people A possesses crosses gender lines, religions, races and body types. The statements Sucsy makes without saying anything at all say more than his imbalanced story. The notion of compassion and understanding and how we all can be unique and the same all in one is a beautiful though, one worthy of discussion and Sucsy makes it almost subconscious, injecting it into you painlessly. While it also delves into love and adolescence in the modern age it feels more like a passing thought, a theme more toyed with than actually picked up and run with. For that discussion you need to watch Eighth Grade.
What you ultimately get here is a film of halves, one where if you give it the time you can fill in the blanks, bring your own feelings and thoughts about humanity to it. The empty spaces feel like a chance to put yourself in the story, to really connect with this story and a new way at looking at the world. While it might leave too much unanswered, too many people selfishly ignored because of the passions of two teenagers, it is hard not to succumb to the life-affirming nature of this underrated tale.