Every Day (2018) by Michael Sucsy
Review by Paige Taylor
Imagine Vincent Van Gogh staring at a blank canvas, a brush in his hand,thoughts running rampant as he pictured the image he wanted to create, ready to paint the very first stroke to bring the iconic and breathtaking Starry Night to life. But then suddenly, someone breaks down the door. They take the canvas and snap it over their knee. They throw all his art supplies out the window. And then this mysterious, malicious individual points at a newly materialized desk with a computer from the 90’s sitting on it and Microsoft Paint is ready and waiting. The malevolent being takes out a knife. “Your canvas awaits you,” they snarl.
This is what it felt like to watch Every Day.
I promise, reader, I am not a cynical person by any means. As someone who is a big fan of The Hunger Games and The Perks of Being A Wallflower I certainly do not place myself above enjoying movies adapted from YA novels. I fully expected to leave the theater with the attitude of a suburban mom named Karen who’s pleased that she took the time to treat her kids to such a “fun and interesting flick!” But instead I left feeling like Bill, the guy who got forced to go to a party and spent the whole night sulking in a corner until someone threw up on his shoes.
The premise of the movie is that every day the protagonist who goes by the name “A”, wakes up in a new body in a new place, and is forced to try and live the life of the new body A has inhabited without giving the real owner of the body any lasting issues. The body A wakes up in is always roughly the same age and in a nearby location and when A leaves this body, the person has very vague memories of the day they lost.
The very first person we see A as has a spontaneous day ditching class with the love interest, Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) right off the bat, who thinks she is just spending the day with her boyfriend. Immediately, A is fixated on her. Every time A wakes up, they try to seek out Rhiannon to spend more time with her. Eventually, A tells Rhiannon the truth and they fall into a family friendly romance.
I absolutely adore the concept of waking up every day in a new body. The idea of living in someone else’s unique, private world is thought-provoking by itself and I am more than willing to explore it. Unfortunately this compelling sci-fi element of the film is bludgeoned by the mighty Young Adult stamp of death. We are given someone who understands humanity in the most empathetic way possible and who could potentially surpass any psychologist in history with all their rare, impossible insight, and yet what we’re given is just another YA person meets YA girl story.
The story wants to be heavy and motivational as it includes family drama with Rhiannon’s parents, an instance where A wakes up in a person with destructive inclinations, and a half-baked thread about being a light in the lives A inhabits but unfortunately all of it ultimately falls flat. You would think that the main driving force of a movie that revolves around walking around in the shoes of a new person every day would really hammer in the idea of appreciating a person for who they are in the inside, but I guess this movie left that idea to its Korean predecessor The Beauty Inside (2015). Oh, you haven’t heard? Yes, this movie has already been done before. And though that one leaves much to be desired as well, I at least finished the Korean version feeling amused and lightly entertained--unlike this, which I left wanting to punch a popcorn machine.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of things I did enjoy. For one, A wakes up in a very diverse selection of bodies and I was pleased to find that each version of A had their own endearing qualities. There were also a few parts that made me chuckle here and there and most of all, my sister loved the shit out of it so at least she had a good time.
But at the end of the day (no pun intended), I just don’t think Every Day is satisfying. It has an intriguing premise, but it is saddled down with unnecessary, unresolved messages and the unforgiving cage of doom that is the YA love narrative.