Every Day is not your everyday YA flick—almost

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      Starring Angourie Rice. Rated PG 

      As outrageous as its supernatural premise is, Every Day’s plot allows for the kind of gender fluidity you rarely see in movies. The film dips into compelling questions about identity and relationships, but its tone is weighted more toward teen romance than the deeper, offbeat themes its setup suggests.

      In the film, based on the YA book of the same title by David Levithan, a soul or spirit called A inhabits a different youthful body every 24 hours. At midnight, like a kind of superterrestrial Cinderella, he-she leaves one person for another—conveniently for the plot, within the same geographical area and of an age around 16. When we meet A, he-she wakes up in the body of jocky Justin (Justice Smith), quickly falling for the deceptively smart girlfriend Justin takes for granted, Rhiannon (an effervescent Angourie Rice).

      Little by little, A reveals the Freaky Friday–meets–Twilight Zone scenario to Rhiannon, to the point where she can recognize A’s intense gaze, whether he-she is the class’s new preppy girl, the home-schooled black kid, or the gay guy at a house party. Still, it’s notable here that Rhiannon only really gets hot and heavy when A is a handsome straight dude. Could it be that Every Day isn’t quite ready to plunge into the gender-curious premise it’s established?

      Either way, Rice and the various actors who play A give their roles an authenticity and intelligence that rate above the genre standard. Extra points go to making The The’s new-wave hope anthem “This Is the Day” a theme. But director Michael Sucsy plays Rhiannon and A’s ensuing relationship problems a little straight-up, all things considered, as the couple tries to navigate A’s ever-changing forms via smartphone alarms, text messages, and a secret Insta account.

      Yes, it’s important that Rhiannon learns to stand up for herself and blow off her aggro boyfriend for the kind guy, briefly possessed by A (a nicely awkward Owen Teague), and realizes love can transcend gender, race, or status. You just wish Every Day would take more risks—with a little less Nicholas Sparks and a little more… Alex Garland?