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Review: Body swapping more than a gimmick in teen romance Every Day

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 24 April 2018

Angourie Rice as Rhiannon and 
Colin Ford as Xavier in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H Stranks

Angourie Rice as Rhiannon and Colin Ford as Xavier in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H Stranks

Archant

Based on the novel by David Levithan, this dreamy romance about a 16-year-old girl who falls in love with a spirit, which moves between different bodies, dodges Twilight comparisons and is at least genuinely interested in exploring its premise.

Jacob Batalon as James and Angourie Rice as Rhiannon in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H StranksJacob Batalon as James and Angourie Rice as Rhiannon in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H Stranks

Every Day (12A)

***

In this teen romance, adapted from a young adult novel, one half of the romantic couple is a being that wakes up in a different teenage body every day.

Black or white, male or female, healthy or unhealthy, cheerful or depressed; but never poor or without a smartphone: there are limits.

Debby Ryan as Jolene and Angourie Rice as Rhiannon in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H StranksDebby Ryan as Jolene and Angourie Rice as Rhiannon in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H Stranks

One day it falls in love with Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) and tries to pursue her through its every changing faces.

Rhiannon has grown tired of her selfish and neglectful boyfriend Justin (Justice Smith), who never seems to have the time to support her.

She is thrilled when Justin unexpectedly shows a more caring side and Rhiannon confides in him about mental problems suffered by her father Nick (Michael Cram) and the devastating impact on the rest of the family.

Rhiannon finds herself falling back in love with Justin, unaware that his body has been taken over for the day by a spirit known as A, who develops a similar attachment to the 16-year-old.

Angourie Rice as Rhiannon and Justice Smith as Justin in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H StranksAngourie Rice as Rhiannon and Justice Smith as Justin in Every Day. Photo: Vertigo Releasing/Peter H Stranks

The following day, Justin returns to his old, unfeeling self and A inhabits the body of exchange student Amy (Jeni Ross).

The spirit goes to extreme lengths to be close to Rhiannon, forging a close emotional bond that will continue each day as A inhabits different bodies including Megan (Katie Douglas), Nathan (Lucas Jade Zumann) and a dangerously suicidal girl called Kelsea (Nicole Law).

Rhiannon is similarly enamoured with A and they search in desperation for a way to defy fate.

The film passes through many different identities – Groundhog Day/Being John Malkovich/Your Name/Donnie Darko style soundtrack – but the one it never embodies is Twilight.

This is bad for the producers because you suspect that this will not spend much more than a few days in any one cinema, but lucky for anyone who gets to see it because it’s quietly charming.

It can be a bit sappy and New Age in places, but it is at least genuinely interested in exploring its premise and doesn’t just see it as gimmick to hook in the kids.

Some will be maddened by its lack of dramatic urgency, but isn’t it a pleasant change to have a film that isn’t trying to force its attentions upon you?

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