He’s made dystopian sci-fi flicks, meta–Britcom-celebrity riffs, political documentaries, pseudo-porno romances cum concert films, classic-novel and pulp-fiction adaptations, among a gajillion other things; try to pin down Michael Winterbottom, and you’re left sputtering in a cloud of dust while he’s off finishing three other projects. If there’s one consistent thread in this prolific British filmmaker’s career, it’s his desire to do something different and see where formalistic experiments might take him—so you can guess his thought process as he was conceiving this kitchen-sink drama. Following a fictional family’s struggles as its patriarch (John Simm) does a five-year bid in prison—anyone could do that. But what if you actually shot it over a five-year span, getting your cast, including four real siblings under the age of ten and Scottish actor Shirley Henderson, together twice per annum and charting these youngsters’ growth before the camera’s eye?
It’s a bold idea, this long-game gambit. (Though we see the family at home, the majority of the film comprises jailhouse visits and daylong furloughs; viewers are essentially watching these kids bud and sprout the same piecemeal way a convict would.) Everyday is not a movie about prison time so much as a prisoner’s conception of time, though the mapping of passing years surprisingly doesn’t add much to the drama onscreen. Even with the actors’ laudable work—especially Simm, who finally shakes off the notion that he’s a poor man’s Simon Pegg—there’s not enough going on past the temporal trick to make the humanistic elements pop. Gimmick aside, the title is regrettably apropos.
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