I doubt people unfamiliar with the novel have even heard of this movie. It was dumped in theaters with few trailers, TV spots, or billboards (it supposedly used “targeted marketing” and I guess I’m not the target) and that may be kind-of a problem for a movie with no-name stars, a low-key energy and sense of plotting, and a risen-from-the-dead distributor (Orion Pictures) that I thought was long defunct.
What Works: David Levithan’s Young Adult novel made my “Best Books of 2012” list, and has a pretty great template for a film to follow: “A” is a type of spirit (or consciousness) that wakes up in the body of a different teenager every day, inhabiting their daily life but only for 24 hours. The people he inhabits—boys and girls, all races, homeschooled or public, etc.—have nothing in common except they’re roughly the same age (as A grows up, so do the people “A” inhabits and it’s apparent this has been happening since “A” was a baby) and live in proximity to each other. The first person “A” wakes up as is in a relationship with Rhiannon, and he/she/it (damn, reviews get monotonous when you can’t use pronouns) falls for Rhiannon immediately. How can you build a relationship when you’re literally someone different every day? Can Rhiannon fall for someone not knowing what they’ll look like from day to day? Will “A” ever wake up in Rhiannon’s body? How much of an impact should “A” be having on the people’s lives it inhabits and is dating Rhiannon messing with those people too much?
What Doesn’t: Those are really the movie’s only big questions and sources of tension, and for a film with such an original, potentially head-spinning premise, “Every Day” feels more like a classy-Hallmark Channel movie than a true mind-blower. The novel “Every Day” has a subplot about a similiar being with “A”‘s ability that is power-drunk and sinister in its intentions, and the film might’ve benefitted from the inherent suspense and plot development the novel’s antagonist would’ve brought. But perhaps the biggest problem is that neophytes to the novel are going to be a little lost in the beginning. The film is nearly thirty minutes in before “A”‘s ability is even mentioned out loud, let alone explored. This is the very rare film that might’ve benefitted from voiceover narration, and especially in the beginning not just to clue book-virgins into what’s going on, but to create an extra layer of intrigue to the movie’s rather flat first-third.
What I Would’ve Done Differently: Ultimately, I think this is a solid “B” film that displays a welcome dose of open-hearted empathy, and this could easily become a “Netflix Sleeper” down-the-road for transgender or especially non-binary teens that don’t quite have a seminal film just yet.