Every Day

Year: 2018
Production Co: Likely Story
Director: Michael Sucay
Writer: Jesse Andrews
Cast: Angourie Rice, Justice Smith

I would never have bothered with this film or (owing to the tiny release it got) even known about it unless I heard it reviewed glowingly. What's more, it's a movie about a teenage girl and the review came from a man around my age who's opinions I mostly agree with, so if he got anything out of it I figured I might too.

The only real concern was whether the 13 Reasons Why effect would be insurmountable – teenagers being so 'movie teeangery' and thinking their parents are idiots and treating them with such contempt it drives me insane.

It's actually because 16-year-old heroine Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) relates to the adults around her as people she genuinely loves and not just irritating adjuncts she has to deal with while the world revolves around her and her problems – her relationship with her father is quite beautiful. As such I was comfortable and delighted to relate to her and stay with her every step.

The story actually starts on her boyfriend Justin (Justice Smith), waking up one morning as if he doesn't really know who he is, looking at his hands in confusion and seeming like he doesn't know his way around his own house.

He goes to school and immediately sweeps Rhiannon off her feet, both of them skipping school for a day of fun, emotional bonding and romance. As he drops her off late that night she seems to feel a sense of regret that the day is over that goes beyond just the fact that they'll be back at school the next day like normal, and in short order we find out why.

The next day Justin is completely changed – a caveman like the rest of his bros who treat women as mostly disposable while they drink, smoke and watch sport. Meanwhile a female exchange student approaches Rhiannon in class, nervous and tentative and seeming to just want to be close to her.

The next day, at a party, a guy Rhiannon doesn't know approaches her while Justin is off ignoring her like normal, romancing her and dancing with her, running off into the night when Justin gets wind of the guy hanging around his girlfriend and chases him off.

The day after that she gets a text from someone claiming to be the guy from the party and asking to meet, but when Rhiannon gets to the coffee shop it's a girl about her age, someone else she's never met before. The girl, Megan, explains that she's actually a being who names herself 'A', a consciousness that has no body of its own but wakes up in a new body every day, and that she/he/it's fallen in love with Rhiannon.

Rhiannon leaves, flustered and slightly insulted, but can't stop thinking about the meeting, so a few days later she agrees to meet A again, this time in the body of a heavyset Asian boy. This time she's ready to listen (if not quite believe) and A explains everything. He doesn't know where he's come from or how his life works, but he wakes up every day in a body belonging to someone nearby and of around the same age, hence why so many of Rhiannon's friends and classmates get a turn.

Over the next few days, Rhiannon realises A is telling the truth and decides to give her disembodied soulmate soul a chance. The denouement of the story (involving a suicidal teenager and then another classmate who's body Rhiannon fancies A can stay in indefinitely so they can be together) doesn't refer to or explain where A came from or the rules of his universe, but instead of diverting from it or the story running out of steam it still works after the rules the story has set up.

It's also one of those movies you'll be praying doesn't end with a pat sappy ending riding off into the sunset together but to be more tragically romantic and adult than that, and though I won't reveal what happens, it ends perfectly.

If you want to plumb the themes it has some interesting things to say about identity – especially as a subtext for adolescence when you're trying to figure out who you are and what you believe in. There's also a strong and perhaps unwitting Christianity theme, of the personality and self able to disconnect completely from the body and remain intact in some kind of spirit realm. While the science behind that might be full of holes, it contains a lovely metaphor for love being universal and not dependent on gender, age or physicality.

You can't really credit director Michael Sucsy with all that as it probably came from the YA novel the movie's based on, and to a lesser extent screenwriter Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).

But you can give him huge props for casting. Angourie Rice is not only a beautiful young lady, she has a sensitivity, softness and maturity that's ageless, along with what seems like a bottomless well of talent.

I didn't even recognise her as being the young heroine Rose from the awesome These Final Hours or Ryan Gosling's scene-stealing daughter Holly from The Nice Guys, but I wasn't too surprised. If someone makes and markets her in a movie properly she has the chops to be the next Margot Robbie. As I write these words she's cast as someone called 'Betty' in the big Spider-man sequel, and I have no idea how big a role that is, but maybe that'll be her arrival.

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