Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Every Day

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Film adaptations of young adult novels, for the most part, tend to be terrible. They're always so cliched, never offering anything fresh or redeeming. Two films in the past 5 years: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl The Spectacular Now, are both excellent, but these are exceptions, not the rule. A few others have been good, but not great.

Every Day has joined the two aforementioned films as young adult novel film adaptations that offer something exciting & interesting to the genre. Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by David Levithan, the film follows Rhiannon (played by Angourie Rice), a 16-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Baltimore with her workaholic mother, Lindsey (played by Maria Bello), her unemployed father, Nick (played by Michael Cram), & her sister, Jolene (played by Debby Ryan).

One day, Rhiannon's boyfriend, Justin (played by Justice Smith), is acting different. He seems to be acting more respectful of Rhiannon. Later that day, Rhiannon & him ditch school to go to Baltimore. The next day, he returns to his old ways, with no memory of the day before. Rhiannon is asked by a new girl, Amy (played by Jeni Ross), if she can shadow her for the day. Later that day, Rhiannon feels embarrassed after an argument with Justin.

The next day, Rhiannon meets Nathan (played by Lucas Jade Zumann) at a party. He acts very friendly towards her, while Justin is off hanging out with his friends. A couple days later, Rhiannon is texted by a number that asks her to meet this person. The person tells Rhiannon she is a spirit that moves through a different person every day, is not the same person twice, is not far from the last person, & that the spirit was Justin, Amy & Nathan. The spirit is called A.

Rhiannon is shocked by this at first, but warms up to it, as A takes the form of David (played by Rory McDonald), James (played by Jacob Batalon), Vic (played by Ian Alexander), George (played by Sean Jones), Xavier (played by Colin Ford), Michael (played by Jake Sim), Kelsea (played by Nicole Law), Hannah (played by Karena Evans), & Katie (played by Hannah Richardson). But when A becomes Alexander (played by Owen Teague), a fellow classmate of hers, Rhiannon must face the implications of this ordeal.

The cast is amazing. Angourie Rice is phenomenal. After The Nice Guys, The Beguiled, & now this, Rice is starting to make a name for herself. She exudes so much warmth & realism from her performance. She's definitely going to make it big soon. The supporting cast, especially Owen Teague, Lucas Jade Zumann & Debby Ryan, are also great as well.

Michael Sucsy's direction is excellent. Sucsy maintains a calm, subdued, & warm-hearted atmosphere throughout the entire film.

Jesse Andrews' screenplay is amazing. Andrews, known for writing both the book & film adaptation of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, continues his streak of excellent storytelling here, writing a faithful adaptation of Levithan's novel.

And Rogier Stoffers' cinematography is stellar. Stoffers, a lesser-known cinematographer for films such as Quills, John Q. & School of Rock, shows that he has some great filming abilities here. The lighting is great, & there are some great wide shots here.

This is one of the most surprising films in a while. What could have easily been extremely formulaic becomes something fresh & tender, something that doesn't come often in film adaptations of young adult novels.

Every Day was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Thursday, February 22, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 95 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language, teen drinking, & suggestive material.

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