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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Every Day is a high-concept romantic drama based on the best-selling young adult novel by David Levithan. It's a love story between teenage Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) and a body-hopping, gender-fluid personality known as "A," who inhabits a different teen host every 24 hours. Teens drink and smoke, swear (language includes "s--t," "bitch," "d--k," and more), kiss, and make out. They also do things like ditch school and stay out all night, with few consequences. While the film touches on serious topics -- including mental illness, suicide, and more -- it never gets too heavy. Instead, it uses these issues, as well as A's wide range of experiences as boys and girls of many races, body types, and sexual identities, to underline the importance of diversity, tolerance, empathy, and acceptance. It also emphasizes the need to truly be seen and appreciated by those who love you, and the value of making your mark on the world.
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What's the story?
In EVERY DAY, teenage Rhiannon (Amy Adams lookalike Angourie Rice) isn't quite sure what to make of it when her usually ultra cool, hard-to-read boyfriend, Justin (Justice Smith), suddenly wants nothing more than to spend a golden afternoon with her, singing along to cheesy music in the car, goofing off at the beach, and -- for once -- listening to her attentively. But the next day he's back to his normal self-centered ways, leaving her hurt and mystified. Things only get more complicated when Rhi starts seeing glimmers of "that" Justin in other teens she meets: a friendly boy at a party, a potential transfer student. Finally one of them tells her the truth: They are all "A," a mysterious, empathetic, gender-fluid personality that wakes up every day in a new host body, living that person's life until the clock strikes midnight, never knowing whose eyes they'll see through the next morning. A has always made a point of respecting each host's life and therefore making as few ripples as possible, but something about Rhiannon has broken through that reserve. Can A overcome Rhi's (understandable) skepticism and help her understand how special she truly is?
Is it any good?
Based on David Levithan's best-selling YA novel, this teen romance is sweet and well-acted -- with strong messages of empathy and acceptance -- if perhaps not quite as deep as it could have been. Everything in Every Day just seems to go a bit too easily or smoothly: Rhi seems like a lovely person, but what is it that makes A fall for her quite so fast and so thoroughly? We don't get to know her well enough first to understand why (other than the fact that she's the main character) she stands out so far beyond all of the other teens A has spent time with. Later, Rhi buys A's story pretty quickly, all things considered. Perhaps these parts of the plot worked better on the page, when there was more access to characters' inner monologues. And then there's the ending, which -- while emotional -- also seems to work itself out pretty neatly.
Still, it's impossible to deny Rice's charm, especially in the scenes where she seeks out and recognizes A in different hosts. No matter what A happens to look like each day, Rhi is always thrilled to reconnect with the one person who really sees and hears her, and that enthusiasm is endearing. It also helps underline the movie's messages about the importance of empathy, diversity, and unconditional love. Leaving aside the fact that, in the end (spoiler alert!), Rhi winds up with someone who hardly pushes the envelope, her journey to self-appreciation and self-confidence includes spending time with teens in a wide range of races, sizes, and even sexual identities. She loves A in all of them, and A loves her. And that's what really matters.
Talk to your kids about ...
A tells Rhi that "not everyone's body aligns with their mind." What does that mean? What options do people have when they're in that situation? What is the movie saying about gender identity?
How does the movie touch on issues related to consent? Why does A think Rhi might have felt taken advantage of when A kissed her as Justin?
How does the film address mental illness? Is it portrayed realistically? Sympathetically? What does Rhi learn about her father over the course of the movie?
Do the teen characters face consequences for their behavior or choices in the film? Why does that matter?
- In theaters: February 23, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 2018
- Cast: Angourie Rice, Justice Smith, Maria Bello
- Director: Michael Sucsy
- Studio: Orion Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Book Characters, High School
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Empathy, Humility
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic content, language, teen drinking, and suggestive material
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