Friday 5 April 2024

Every Day, by Jesse Andrews (Orion Pictures et al.) | review by Stephen Theaker

This review originally appeared in TQF65 (December 2019).

“A” is a being of unknown origin who wakes up in a different human body every day, one that’s about the same age as A. When asked if he or she is a boy or a girl, later in the film, A says, “Yes.” I suppose it doesn’t make sense to talk about being male or female if you don’t have a body. Or, to put it another way, in a male body A is male, and in a female body A is female, rather like Doctor Who.

Usually, A just tries to get through the day as the host without causing any trouble or leaving a trace, and wipes memories and phone passwords before their overnight departure. But when A spends a day in the body of Rhiannon’s jerk of a boyfriend, he really hits it off with her, and they kiss, and A then starts trying to get back to her. After a little while, a relationship develops.

Problematically, though, A does not disclose who is piloting Rhiannon’s boyfriend’s body when first kissing her. When Rhiannon raises the issue of consent, A brushes it off and she lets it drop. In fact, she ends up being just as bad: she doesn’t care that the owners of the other bodies she ends up kissing (and more) haven’t consented. She might as well be sexually assaulting someone who is in a coma.

Some viewers have also suggested that it is homophobic of Rhiannon to show significantly more interest, at least on-screen, when A is in a male body, but I don’t think so: it’s not as if A’s body-switching would change Rhiannon’s sexual orientation. The angriest of them seem to think that it’s inherently bigoted to only or predominantly be attracted to one sex. Clearly this is not the case.

It’s not a film I would have watched if we didn’t have members of the target audience in the house. They were even more bothered by the consent issues than me, and found A to be thoroughly creepy in the earlier interactions. But its cast is charming (Angourie Rice as Rhiannon is a bit Amy Adamsish), and a sequence extrapolating their relationship into a possible future is well done.

And its premise provides food for thought: what would one do in A’s situation? Create a database of teens who’d be happy to let their bodies snog Rhiannon? Try to organise a leap into a comatose body? Set up an online bank account and rent a permanent place? Ultimately, such ruminations were more interesting than watching the film itself. Stephen Theaker **

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