Director: Michael Sucsy
Writers: Jesse Andrews
Cast: Angourie Rice, Justice Smith, Debby Ryan
Production: Likely Story, FilmWave
Geek Rate: Thief worthy (2 out of 5 stars)
The movie adaptation of David Levithan’s book of the same title, Every Day tells the story of A, a “traveling spirit” who flit in and out of teenagers’ body for a day. A inhabited the body of Rhiannon’s (played by Angourie Rice, the wise daughter of Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys) boyfriend and fell in love with her.
If I was intrigued by how Levithan will pull this story off in the novel, I was equally looking forward to how Director Michael Sucscy will turn this into a movie. The part where A takes over the body of a teenager in a single day is not a new concept, but by Levithan’s typical writing, this story turned into more than a YA story to an in-depth examination of the issue of falling in love with a soul rather than on the person’s physical appearance. In the novel, all was explained in detail, and you could feel every word of A (and of Rhiannon in the accompanying book Another Day). The twists and turns, the hows and whys were carefully written out to make it somehow real.
The execution of the movie version has many loopholes in it that Sucscy did not manage to cover. Those who read the book could understand some of the mysteries left unanswered and I could imagine those who did not read it has been left baffled by the bizarreness of it all. The good side is that Sucscy partnered with writer Jesse Andrews (the author of one my favorite books Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl) making the movie less like a YA novel with dumb high school parties, cafes, and American football games, and into something much more in depth.
Rice’s impeccable performance as Rhiannon helped the story, as A shifted into one character into next, a tough one for the movie. We also like Lucas Jade Zumann, the actor who played Nathan in the party, though his character could have been more prominent in the movie like he was in the book, because Nathan was somehow important in the book’s plot, a driving force in an element which was absent in the movie (which I will discuss in the next paragraph).
I’m not a fan of Owen Teague, who played Alexander, the last person whose body A supposedly inhabited before fleeing the state to search for the truth about his condition. Maybe it was because of how Sucscy deviated from the original ending of the novel which made the whole story somewhat more baffling and laughable. It also was a bad idea to take off the religion part of the novel, which started when A took over Nathan’s body. This part made the story of A more mysterious and intriguing in the novel.
There was also the problem of the acting level of actors who played A which made the story fluctuate into highs and lows throughout the movie. What is more disappointing is the obvious way that the movie, while championing loving a soul than a body, failed or deliberately veer off to the LGBT element that was in the novel, clearly afraid of the backlash it might get which is weird because no Republicans will watch this movie anyway.
Despite the negative aspects of the movie, fans of Levithan will enjoy watching one of his novels in the big screen, cheering A as he meets up Rhiannon in a different body every day, trying to make her believe that his story is true. More importantly, amid helping teenagers whose body he occupied, and solving the mystery of his condition, which were featured in the movie with varying successes, A’s act of trying to find happiness for Rhiannon even if it was not with him, was front and center in the movie and that’s what’s important. It’s a simple lesson that the movie tried to share, and despite the pitfalls I already anticipated, it successfully delivered it until the end credits.
Cover Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f29apaCbUsU