Hot Take: YA NYT Best Seller has a novel concept and works well on screen. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for a YA romance. However, there are deeper questions explored and even if you don’t like it, you have to commend it for at least being a little different.
Maybe I’m giving Every Day, a film about a 16 year old high schooler Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) who falls in love with the spirit of “A” who inhabits a different body every day, too much credit. The film’s somewhat unique concept isn’t as unique as it seems once second level thinking is introduced and the stark realization that the film is just an amalgam of Groundhog Day, Freaky Friday and every coming of age angst filled high school romance ever. However, I’m willing to still give the film credit for its dare to be different even if the concept is a tad derivative hodge podge of other films.
Rice as Rhiannon delivers a strong performance and is becoming a talent to watch. Her smaller roles in 2016’s The Nice Guys and last year’s The Beguiled were definitely well received and now in a feature role, she looks to be a potential breakout star. Since she doesn’t have a true co-star (her love interest is a different person every day), we’re reliant on Rice to be the spark here and she delivers. Some of her romantic leads — Justice Smith as world’s worst boyfriend Justin and Owen Teague as Alexander especially — hold their own but, for the most part, it’s Rice who is the reason to watch this twisted love story of a teenage girl who discovers love can be more than what’s on the surface as she meets “A” every day and falls for him/her no matter which body he/she embodies.
The author of the novel the movie is based on — David Levithan — was also the co-writer of the novel which Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist was based. It also comes as no surprise that the screenplay was adapted for the big screen by Jesse Andrews who was the novelist and screenwriter of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Traces of these connections can be seen in this film as Every Day‘s influences surface frequently. It definitely has more ambition than your average teen romance but veers pretty hard away from the novel’s approach to the same story in favor of focusing on the love affair between Rhiannon and “A”. This happens frequently when a book moves to movie form and the end result here is adequate enough to not begrudge Andrews’ choice to stray from the source material a little.
Depending on your appetite for YA romances, Every Day might be one worth checking out. Even if you aren’t but have previously been impressed by Rice’s smaller roles in previous films or even if you just know who she is, that’s another reason to check out Every Day. Besides it’s not every day you get the chance to see a more complex approach to teen high school romances and Every Day can boast about that.
Angourie Rice is proving herself to be a budding young star.
What may appear to be unique might actually just be a riff on other films that you might find underwhelming if this isn’t your genre.