Every Day is not, if you'll forgive us, an everyday young-adult romantic tale.
In a genre packed with love triangles and adolescent angst, director Michael Sucsy's drama (in theaters now) is a story of star-crossed lovers with a twist: Sixteen-year-old Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) is a kindhearted sort who has her love life rocked when she comes into contact with a nomadic and gentle soul named A, who is neither male nor female but wakes up in the body of a new teenager every morning and lives their life. "Make no mark, leave no trace," A says.
Naturally, they fall for each other — though it takes Rhiannon a little longer to get the romance vibe because she doesn't quite know what to make of A's explanation at first. But here are the other reasons why Every Day is about to become your new teen obsession.
There's a neat story of inclusion.
In the adaptation of David Levithan's 2012 novel, A first meets Rhiannon in the body of the girl's jerky jock boyfriend, Justin (Justice Smith), and goes on to inhabit 16 people of different genders, races and sexualities — including one day spent as Rhiannon herself. The film thematically touches on true love being universal but also having the freedom to be who you are — and love whoever you want to love. Some might find it a little corny, but it's a feel-good perspective that's welcome today.
The cast is a who's who of young up-and-comers.
If you're into pop culture (and dig Marvel web-swinging superheroes), you've probably seen some of the stars in the past and most likely will see them again. Rice, an Australian actress, played Ryan Gosling's daughter in The Nice Guys and also had small roles in The Beguiled and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Smith is no stranger to YA adaptations: He starred in the movie version of John Green's Paper Towns, and The Get Down actor has his biggest project to date this summer with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (out June 22). As for the other actors who play A, Ian Alexander is an Asian-American transgender actor who stars on Netflix's The OA, Jacob Batalon starred as Spider-Man's best friend in Homecoming, and Owen Teague has been seen on Netflix's Bloodline and Black Mirror, as well as in the hit horror flick It.
Old fans can have a different experience than they did with the book.
Every Day earned a loyal YA following when Levithan's novel was released, yet even those early readers will find something new in the movie. The screenplay by Jesse Andrews (himself a YA veteran who wrote both the novel and adaptation of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) switches the lead character from A in the book to Rhiannon in the movie, so you get her point of view as she falls in love. The emphasis on her also spawned a new backstory involving her family, including Rhiannon's workaholic mom (Maria Bello), wild-child sister (Debby Ryan) and her unemployed dad (Michael Cram), who is recovering from a nervous breakdown.
It's a thought-provoking break from the love-story norm.
The romance between Rhiannon and A is both unconventional and fascinating in its otherworldliness, yet feels real in the way it's handled. As much as Rhiannon cares for this thing that gets her like no one else, it’s anyone’s guess when she’ll next hear from A — it all depends where A wakes up the next day. (Luckily, A always reappears in the general area, though sometimes it's a major drive.) But as much as Every Day is about her, it's also about A struggling to be with someone but never quite totally. At the very least, the narrative gives you a lot to think about as you root for these interesting lovebirds.