out of Five
Running time: 106
Everyday is notable for its strong performances, the visual dividends of its shot-over-five-years hook, some nice location work and an emotive score by Michael Nyman, but it's ultimately let down by its resolutely minimalist approach to both plot and dialogue.
What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, Everyday was filmed over a five year period and stars Shirley Henderson as Karen, a mother caring for her four young children (real-life siblings Robert Kirk, Stephanie Kirk, Shaun Kirk and Sofia Kirk) while her husband Ian (John Simm) serves a prison sentence for an unspecified crime. During the course of five years, Karen repeatedly visits Ian in prison with varying combinations of the children in tow.
Eventually, Ian receives the right to visit the family while on day release, but there's a setback when he's pressured into smuggling drugs inside for another inmate. At the same time, Karen struggles with the day-to-day pressures of raising four children alone while holding down a series of day jobs, so she turns to a local man (Darren
Tighe) for support.
Henderson and Simm both deliver strong performances, with Winterbottom getting maximum use out of Henderson's heartbreaking sad face on numerous occasions; there's also a genuine chemistry between them that is extremely touching. The kids are equally good, particularly the two young boys (Shaun and Robert Kirk), who both have incredibly expressive faces; an early scene where they both get into trouble at school for fighting is remarkable in this respect, with Robert angry and glowering, while Sean fights back tears as they get told off.
The central conceit of filming over five years pays huge visual dividends as we literally watch the children (aged between three and eight when filming started) grow up over the course of five years, something that immediately sets the film apart from other family dramas. In addition, the camerawork (by a team of five
cinematographers) makes strong use of a series of authentic rural Norfolk locations and there's a superb, highly emotive score by Michael Nyman.
The problem is that, as the title suggests, the film is only interested in the minutiae of the family's day-to-day existence, so there's no real plot to speak of; instead we repeatedly watch the kids play or Karen go through the motions at her day job or the family go on yet another prison visit and that's pretty much it. This resolutely minimalist approach to both plot and dialogue works in terms of Winterbottom's simple aim of presenting a portrait of a family enduring a difficult time, but it's also frustrating, in that it ultimately lacks both emotional and dramatic impact.
Everyday has a significant amount of curiosity value due to its unique filming set-up, but it ultimately fails to do anything interesting with that conceit and never manages to connect on an emotional level.