What if you woke up in a new body every day?
Every Day is a young adult novel by David Levithan that was adapted into a movie starring Angourie Rice, Debby Ryan, Justice Smith, Owen Teague, and many more talented young actors. The story is about a girl named Rihannon who has one truly amazing day with her jerky boyfriend Justin. The catch? Justin wasn’t really there. It turns out A — some type of gender fluid entity or spirit who wakes up in a new person’s body each day — was in Justin’s body at the time. A can wake up as anyone, any race, any gender, and they have 24 hours to live as that person and try their best not to cause any chaos while they’re there. Sparks fly for A while they’re with Rihannon and she starts falling for A too…but can they really be together?
Watch my review of Every Day, below:
There’s a lot of things I want to get into when it comes to Every Day, so let’s break it down with the good and the bad.
1. We got a gender fluid main character!
I really love that we’re following the story of A and learning about this gender fluid main character. They can wake up in any person’s body and don’t see themselves as any one gender. I enjoyed watching this type of representation because it’s one that is rarely seen and it deserves to be addressed and realized for other young people in the world who relate to it.
2. Many different types of people were featured in this film.
Every Day features many diverse and talented young actors and scenarios. At one point, A is being played by Ian Alexander who is a transgender actor playing a transgender character. Another time, A wakes up in the body of a blind guy. Next, A is a girl who is depressed and suicidal and they need to find a way to help her. I like that A is so worldly and has seen life through so many different types of people.
1. The film doesn’t go far enough with its representation and love is love message.
It’s one thing for a film to cast diverse actors, but to not take advantage of them in a story like this one was truly disappointing. While the idea of the representation in Every Day is groundbreaking, they missed huge opportunities to dive even deeper. For instance, we see A wake up as a blind guy, but that moment is just relayed to a brief cameo. We never see them interact or have a relationship with Rihannon as that person. The same goes for A’s brief interaction with Rihannon as a transgender guy. It could’ve been really impactful to see Rihannon fall for someone differently abled or differently bodied than herself. There was this big message of love is love that this film claimed to support, but when you really take a look it didn’t hold up that bargain. There were two small moments when Rihannon kissed A when they were a black guy and a girl, but otherwise Rihannon was only exclusively interested in A physically when they were a cute white guy. I thought they’d really dive into that love is love message and show Rihannon actually being with different types of people. I was waiting for her realization that the personality is more important than the shell of the person, but it never came. It would’ve been really great to see Rihannon end up with someone we truly weren’t expecting, but unfortunately she remained only interested in one shallow and specific type: a guy who was tall, slim, with good shoulders.
2. What’s up with the consent in this story?
Something that rubbed me the wrong way in the movie, as well as in the book, were the ethics around A and Rihannon being intimate. It was just a whole weird consent issue. At one point Rihannon even expressed anger at A for kissing her when they were Justin, yet she continues to be intimate with A in all of these different bodies that don’t actually belong to A. These people don’t actually have a choice in the matter and I didn’t think that was fair. While they didn’t dive into it in the film much, I thought it was very problematic.
3. They severely underused their talented young cast.
From Disney darling Debby Ryan to Degrassi favorite Amanda Arcuri, the talented young actors in this cast were severely underused. Ryan’s character was relayed to being a chauffeur for her sister Rihannon with about 5 total minutes of screen time, while Arcuri played Rihannon’s best friend who didn’t actually do anything in the film. Additionally, they cast all these young diverse actors to play A, but didn’t give them anything really meaty to work with. As I mentioned before, it would’ve been really more groundbreaking to actually show Rihannon growing and finding herself interested in these diverse A’s rather than just sticking with her typical type.
All in all, I think Rihannon did learn a lot about her self worth and not staying with someone who doesn’t truly see her. Every Day was a cute film, although I think it would be more interesting to learn more about A’s situation and how they came to be. But at the same time I didn’t think this movie was as progressive as it could’ve been. I was really hoping to see that message of love is love truly come to life, but I feel like it wasn’t done in a real diverse way.
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