Grade: B-
Entire family: No
2018, 97 min., Color
Teen drama-fantasy-romance
Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language, teen drinking, and suggestive material
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 5.1
Bonus features: B+
Trailer
Amazon link

Every Day is a strange film. Angourie Rice (who was Ryan Gosling’s daughter in The Nice Guys) plays an average teenager in the Greater Baltimore area whose life is upended when she meets and becomes attracted to another teen whose looks change on a daily basis. And we’re not just talking about capricious makeovers.

That other teen somehow (why is never fully explained) wakes up in a different teen body every single day. “A,” as she comes to know them, can be a 16-year-old girl one day and a 16-year-old boy the next—black, white, Asian, gay or straight. A has no control over what body they awake in, but for the day that A is inside that body and inhabits that person’s life, A has tried to abide by one rule: do nothing that would alter that person’s life for good or for bad. That’s something A finds harder to do once they meet and fall for Rhiannon (Rice). A’s brain, A’s emotions, A’s memory bank, A’s spirit enters a person’s body and then lives that person’s life for a day. Throughout the film we see A do this with 15 different individuals who have zero to some vague memory of that day (whatever memory A decides to leave behind, though his standard M.O. has been to leave no memories). And both Rhiannon’s and A’s lives become more complicated when they develop feelings for one another.

I told you it was strange. But it’s also unique and oddly compelling. You want to see how this star-crossed romance could possibly end.

Every Day should play well with the genderless, polyamorous community, because the emphasis isn’t on whether a person is male or female, or even how a person looks on the outside—it’s on the person’s spirit or personality.

The problem is, unless you have a very broad mind, the concept and some scenes might strike you as more than a little weird. Rhiannon kisses A whether he’s in a male or female body—and they’re presumably having sex as well, as the positioning and nude male torsos would suggest. There’s something voyeuristic (and yes, given what I said above, just a little creepy) about A’s life, as they inhabit the body of Rhiannon’s boyfriend and another possible romantic interest. I won’t say any more, because to do so would get into spoiler territory, except to say that it is a little weird to consider that if A has been doing this all their life, they’ve posed as an awful lot of boyfriends and girlfriends during a time when hormones are raging. No graphic nudity is shown and no sex is shown on-camera, but the premise itself is there lurking just beneath the surface.

All that said, Rice is charismatic as Rhiannon, and we see her evolution and growth as her relationships (it would have to be plural) with A multiply. The supporting cast is also engaging, though we wonder about a best friend that seems ignored during a time when you’d think Rhiannon would want to talk about all of this.

I have a teen daughter in the target age range for this film, and she would have given this film a C because of the weirdness—though she appreciated that the film avoided the cheesiness of most teen romance films. That said, she pointed out that for her it was just another sick or dying teen movie, only this body-shifting malady is substituted for a more conventional one. My wife and I thought the characters and acting were strong, the plot never felt strained (despite a concept that’s nothing but strange), and our attentions were held until the very (semi-satisfying) end—hence the compromise grade of B-. Every Day had much better writing and acting for a “gimmick” film than we expected. Watch it on Blu-ray for the superior sound and picture, and view the bonus features to have some of your questions answered.

Language: The usual “shits” and “damns” and “bitches” for a teen film, plus liberal use of the word “slut”
Sex: A nude shower scene of Rhiannon from the shoulders up, plus lots of implied sex and comments like “Your mouth tastes better when you don’t smoke” and anyone “can be attracted to way more people than one”
Violence: Nothing much, just a testosterone flare-up and a some reckless driving
Adult situations: Some teen smoking and drinking
Takeaway: As teens today find themselves wrestling with gender identity more and more, I suspect there will be many films like Every Day to come, but for now this one stands as a pretty unique piece of work

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