Somewhere between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Notebook sits Every Day, a new teen romance movie that, at first glance, and also at second and third glances, appears to make absolutely no sense at all. Here is our best attempt at a plot summary: Every day, a “teen” named A switches bodies. One day, A is a popular student athlete on the women’s basketball team; the next day, A is a homeschooler with an overbearing mother. Throughout all of this body swapping, A falls in love with a person named Rhiannon. Rhiannon does not switch bodies every day, making this a pretty difficult romance to keep alive. Especially considering A is not exactly a person, but rather, a soul, a consciousness, an essence, and a timely reminder that love is faceless and genderless and dreamiest when you’re in high school. Think of it as Call Me by … Today’s Name. But how does this all work? Vulture is here to answer your most pressing Every Day questions.
So … what exactly is going on here? Who are our players?
Meet Rhiannon (Angourie Rice, from The Nice Guys and The Beguiled): She’s an angel-faced 16-year-old with a mom and dad and big sister. Nothing out of the ordinary here. She’s dating Justin (Justice Smith, from The Get Down) a complete and total jerk. Kyle from Lady Bird seems like Alan Alda in comparison — generally crotchety, but ultimately lovable and harmless. Unfortunately for Rhiannon, she’s coming of age in the age of Rihanna, and it’s suggested that sometimes people … confuse them?
Tell me more about Rhiannon’s family.
Maria Bello — Maria! Bello! — is Lindsey, Rhiannon’s overworked (albeit still stylish, in a J.Crew-professional-wear sense) mother. Nick (Michael Cram) is Rhiannon’s father. He’s recovering from a mental breakdown following a layoff, and the family artfully sidesteps his mental-health issues. Usually, he’s in the garage, quietly and obsessively painting faces. Jolene (Debby Ryan) is Rhiannon’s rebellious big sis, whom we mostly see when she drives Rhiannon to their high school. The family drama is that Lindsey is absolutely, 100 percent cheating on Nick, which the movie devotes one scene to, then drops completely.
Let’s cut to the chase: Explain the body snatching!
It’s not “body snatching,” it’s more “Get Out, without all the racism.” One day, Justin wakes up, but he’s not Justin. He’s A, a mysterious teen spirit that inhabits a different body every day. One day A is Justin, another day he’s Nathan (Lucas Jade Zumann), another day he’s James (Jacob Batalon), another day he’s Amy (Jeni Ross).
There are a few rules to this: The bodies are always the same age as A, but A can never inhabit the same body twice. A’s activities are limited to a certain radius: A couldn’t wake up as a person in California one morning and end the week in Tokyo. A also has access to the host body’s memories and mind, so not a lot catches A off guard. A also keeps a record.
Is A a male or a female? Does it matter?
When Rhiannon asks if A is a boy or a girl, A replies “yes.” Gender is a construct, people!
So … Rhiannon thinks she’s hanging out with her boyfriend Justin, but really, he’s A in Justin’s body?
Oh yes, exactly. When A is in Justin’s body, he and Rhiannon skip school to go on a completely romantic day-date to… Baltimore. The next day A has moved on to another host, and Justin is back to his same ol’ shitty high-school-boyfriend behavior.
How many bodies does A take over?
Fourteen, plus — twist! — one day, A wakes up as Rhiannon!
What happens then?
After sneaking a peek at her boobs in the shower, A mostly behaves. Because A is a beacon of light and love, he repairs Rhiannon’s relationship with her father.
And somewhere in there, A and Rhiannon fall in love?
At first Rhiannon is totally freaked out by the fact that complete strangers are familiar with the most intimate details of her life, secrets she thought she was sharing with her boyfriend on the one day he seemed to be genuinely interested in her. Eventually she puts it all together. It helps that this is a modern romance complete with Instagram stalking, so she can see that A is telling the truth about the body switching.
So this movie is just scene after scene of a suburban teen girl going on dates with other random suburban teens?
Uh … yeah. There’s other drama: Maria Bello’s affair, the dad’s painting, Rhiannon breaking up with Justin, and Justin spending two scenes being jealous. A spends a day in the body of someone who has major surgery, in the body of teen boys with overprotective moms, and saving a teen girl from her suicidal ideations.
Why is A never an adult? Or a baby? How is A never one of Rhiannon’s family members?
A’s power limits the body snatching: Host bodies are always A’s same age (in this case, 16).
How does Rhiannon know who A is on any given day?
At first she quizzes A with small details from their previous conversations. Eventually A just stares at Rhiannon until they make eye contact and she realizes that this random person is really A. Sometimes she just asks.
All right, so how does this end?
Eventually A lands in the body of Rhiannon’s friend Alexander (Owen Teague). After learning that it’s possible to spend more than one day in a host body, A squats inside Alexander for a few days. It brings some consistency to the romance with Rhiannon, but A grows guilt-stricken: What kind of future could they have together, A asks? What happens when A is in the body of a man married to someone else, in the body of a pregnant woman, in the body of someone who enjoyed Man of the Woods? If they had kids, would the kids even be A’s? Would A’s child suffer from the same phenomenon?
So A and Rhiannon are star-crossed lovers, separated by this pesky body-snatching disease!
Yes, but not after A teaches Rhiannon the privilege of gratitude and living each day to the fullest. Then, in the body of a black girl, A gets in her Mercedes convertible and drives off to NYC, where there are plenty more bodies to bounce around in. Rhiannon follows A’s Instagram to see how her ex-lover is doing, before she ostensibly deletes Instagram in favor of some newer, better app with an improved algorithm. Happily ever after.
How can I become an A?
By my estimation, through prayer and clean living. It helps to have a finely curated Instagram.
Should I see this movie?
Let me be unambiguous: Phantom Thread is the best twisted romance currently playing in theaters.