Michael Winterbottom likes a challenge, a character – and career – trait that many film lovers adore him for. In his newest outing, Everyday, shot over a period of five years (so we actually see the passing of time), the director once again shows us why he’s the Takeshi Miike of the British Isles.
Life’s always tough as a single parent, but things are a little different for Karen (Shirley Henderson) because the reason she’s raising her four kids on her own is because her husband Ian (John Simm) is currently serving a prison sentence for a drug smuggling charge. Trying to balance being a good mum, her job and the long visits she makes with the kids to visit her husband, the stresses on her life begins to take its toll. Years after year, we begins see the true effects that Ian’s absence is having on her and the children.
Dripping in dank realism, it really seems that Winterbottom was so occupied with being as close to life to possible that he seemingly forgot to add even an ounce of drama to the story. And instead of a cutting edge piece of social art, we get long, awkward, disjointed scenes that never seem to amount to anything with any sort of direction or urgency. They simply become 90 straight minutes of uneventful guff.
The backbreaking issue is that the film is just monumentally wrongly played, not even attempting to engage the audience, seemingly happy keeping them at a distance just so that they can witness the struggles of this family we don’t really care about. It quickly and unapologetically turns into a chore to watch and although having some inklings of an interesting story, never feels like its worth it. Add in a score that feels like it belongs in a different movie, and you can’t help but see the mess that it is.
Even though this may be a misfire for Winterbottom, and he’s had a few over the years, they always seem amicable. His ideas, style and method of filmmaking, including how he handles his story, have to be respected because although they may not all succeed, he takes risks and goes against the grain. A man who isn’t afraid to challenge the boundaries of filmmaking and what is actually plausible. The concept of Everyday is fascinating, and the fact that the project was actually completed is an achievement. Nevertheless, it’s an achievement with a sour outcome.