Unlike many films that struggle to find their groove, Every Day hits its stride early and keeps moving forward at an appealing clip.
Based on the book by David Levithan and adapted by Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), himself a novelist with a strong track record of depicting teenagers, it’s blessed with a premise that lends itself well to a steady pace, one in which an adolescent entity that calls itself A wakes up each morning in a new body.
Wielding no control over whom it inhabits, A moves to a new host of the same age and within roughly the same area and attempts to live the best day possible for that person without overly altering his or her existence.
Inexplicable though that set-up may be, Andrews and director Michael Sucsy (The Vow; Grey Gardens) run with it, starting on the day A finds itself as suburban Baltimore teen Justin (Justice Smith, Paper Towns) and embarks upon an exhilarating day of hooky with his girlfriend Rhiannon (Angourie Rice, The Nice Guys), who’s unaccustomed to such respectful, loving treatment from this bad boy.
For the first time in its life, A feels a special connection with a person and attempts to form a bond with Rhiannon in the days that follow. Expressing a previously unshared vulnerability despite the challenges of each new look, the shift in attitude allows for exposition about A’s predicament to unfurl fairly naturally through Rhiannon simply asking questions about just what the heck is going on.
Likewise attracted to A, especially once she realizes the Justin with whom she shared that magical day wasn’t the real Justin, Rhiannon gradually comes around to the odd circumstances and rolls with the obstacles.
Sunshiny as she embraces love and realistically upset when things don’t go Rhiannon’s way, Rice is such a pro that finding comparable talent among her age group is a tall task. While some actors perform better than others, there’s no flat out stinker and the variety of skill levels is generally a suitable match for A’s new daily trappings.
As the central relationship progresses and the two reach a satisfying, refreshingly adult decision, Every Day rides the charms of the dual souls and puts forth an encouraging message about inner beauty.
Though some more homely teen casting — and characters of lower socioeconomic statuses — might have made that point even stronger, considering how much better the film is than the bulk of its YA peers, the oversight is forgivable.
Grade: B-plus. Rated PG-13. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Orion Pictures)