Why I’m Excited About the Film "Every Day"

There’s no mistaking that Hollywood is a big fan of romance, especially that targeted towards young people. May it be a rom-com, a tearjerker, or an epic tale of romance and fantasy, there’s no shortage of romance in the movies produced for the silver screen. It’s unsurprising, given the popularity of romance films, especially films adapted from young-adult novels. You have The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You, Paper Towns, If I Stay, and many, MANY more, or films belonging to other genres outside of YA-romance  (cough, cough, Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, need I go on?) The point here is that Hollywood execs would like to think that young people really like watching kids their own age fall in love on screen. Based on the amount of money that these films gross every year, they wouldn’t be wrong. Except, many of the couples on the silver screen lack diversity.. A majority of the young-adult romance films that are produced do not feature characters of different sexualities or gender identities, which is incredibly disheartening considering the amount of diversity there is in the LGBTQ+ community. It is also disappointing because these films are one way to give representation and to expand public awareness and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. Romantic-dramas are a genre where both the romantic and sexual orientations of characters can be explored in depth. Every Day is an example of a film that actively tries to represent young people with different gender identities and sexual orientations, which is what makes it so unique and exciting.

Every Day is an adaptation of a best-selling YA-novel of the same name by David Levithan, but it is different from your average teen romance. This is apparent right off the bat. The film is centered around a 16-year-old girl named Rhiannon (Angourie Rice), a high school student who falls in love with an “Undefined, restless spirit” named “A,” who occupies the body of people their same age for 24 hours before having to pop into someone else. Through the course of the film, Rhiannon goes from disbelieving to actively seeking out A in each of their different iterations - regardless of size, shape, gender, skin color or sexuality. Gone is the traditional “White, straight, cisgender girl and boy meet and fall and love” scenario, replaced with a far more complex and philosophical idea exploring not only who we fall for, but how we fall in love. The film seems to seek to explore the idea of love being universal, as it pairs Rice with over 15 different different actors throughout the course of the movie, all playing the same character, “A.” On top of this, no particular attention is paid to the fact that these characters belong to minority groups. Although each character has a set of traits given to them, Rhiannon is falling in love with “A,” the person inside of them. Every Day explores Rhiannon’s relationship with men, women, and a trans teen, while taking a look solely at their romance rather than examining the societal backlash from their relationship. Making the decision to cast a diverse group of actors to opposite the protagonist really pushes the idea of falling in love purely with someone’s “inner being,” and not their exterior body. Not only is the idea of the film complex, but, balancing the diversity and inclusivity of the cast, the way each character’s story is told is a challenge. Every Day is unique for a mainstream young-adult romance because it focuses on people of different gender identities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations and pulls all of these “separate” love stories into one film. Although we see Rhiannon fall in love with the same soul, “A” inhabits different bodies, with each body containing it’s own story and life circumstances. Even though the film relies on some tropes of romantic-dramas in order to appeal to mainstream audiences, the film makes a worthwhile effort to include a diverse cast to carry the film.

One of the most important aspects of inclusivity in media is for well-rounded, complex characters to provide representation for people of all walks of life, especially those in minority groups who do not often get depicted authentically in mainstream media. Many of the films targeted towards LGBTQ+ individuals are not shown in theatres or released to a mainstream audience, which limits the amount of people that are able to see them. Not only is it important for there to be positive LGBTQ+ representation in film in general, but especially in films targeted toward young adults, because accurate representation of LGBTQ+ individuals devoid of stereotypes or misconceptions provides youth with role models. It provides support for those learning to accept and embrace their own identity within the LGBTQ+ community.

We are at a crucial point in Hollywood culture where audience members seem to be demanding more diversity and representation in the characters that they see. The film Every Day is both the result and the response to that demand for inclusivity. If the movie proves anything, it’s that all around the world there are people of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and sexualities and each one with a different story to tell. Although we are all different and unique in our own ways, love is love no matter what you look like, where you are, what you identify with or as, or the cultural standards and traditions that you follow. The media that we see should represent this diversity. After all, if love is universal and encompassing, doesn’t it only make sense for the diversity and inclusivity that love embodies to be portrayed on the big screen?

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