“Every Day”

 

            Here's a teen movie that's truly different.  Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) plays an American teenager who seems fairly typical:  she's driven to school by her sister, because her Mom's already gone to work.  Her Dad got laid off, and is having a hard time getting it together, so he does oil paintings in the basement, which he now claims he always wanted to do.  “Rhi” has a boyfriend, who is kind of a prototypical high school boy:  more comfortable hanging around the guys, doesn't easily express his feelings, and much of his love interest seems to be directed toward getting her in his bedroom while his parents are away.  Rhi longs to make an emotional connection, and one fine day, she does:  she and her boyfriend skip school and have a great time together, but the next day she's puzzled, because he seems to have reverted to his former insensitive self.

            Then Rhi gets a visit from another kid who claims he was the spirit of the guy she was with the day before.  Except now he's inhabiting a different body.  In fact, every day he inhabits a different body.  Could be boy or girl.  And he has no control over it.  Rhi is so freaked out she just leaves.

            Then the next day, Rhi is approached by a girl who says she's now the spirit of that guy she enjoyed so much, and Rhi is freaked out again and leaves.

            Then the next day, Rhi receives another text to ask her to meet him again, and when she walks in she finds---a big black dude?  Yep, and now she's starting to believe it, because he knows things that he couldn't have known otherwise.  They even come up with a name for him:  A.  She's less freaked out now, and is willing to believe that this really is happening, and kind of gets caught up in the novelty:  every day “A” inhabits a different person, but has the same memories of this incredible emotional connection with her, and now she's so enamored by it, she's neglecting her old friends and her schoolwork.

            It really gets weird when “A” winds up in Rhi's body for a day, which makes her feel prurient in her own shower.  But after several more days, “A” winds up inhabiting some guy who is otherwise a good fit for Rhi, and finally Rhi asks him if he can try harder to stay in that body.  But even that has unintended consequences, because the guy who's been living in that body is now crowded out, and forgets his own family birthday party.  Eventually, “A” realizes he's being selfish by demanding Rhi's attention, and despite her protests, feels it would be better for her to pursue a “real” relationship.

            So, is there a certain essence of a person that's apart from their physical charactertics?  Yes, you could say “spirit” or “soul” but perhaps without some of the religious implications of those terms.  (Though religious people would still utilize the same concept for the expectation of afterlife.)  Can we really appreciate who people really are on the inside, apart from their physical appearance?  Or are we even able to separate the two?

            Somehow, the silly premise becomes quirky romance with a hint of something a lot deeper about personal identity and interpersonal connection.  A definite change of pace.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association