Starring: John Simm, Shirley Henderson, Shaun Kirk
You may like this if you liked: Wonderland (Michael Winterbottom, 1999), The Dreamlife of Angels (Erick Zonka, 1998), Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
Shot a few weeks at a time over the course of five years, Everyday focuses on the everyday struggles of a family trying to keep it all together as the father Ian (Simm) serves a five year prison sentence while Karen (Henderson) struggles to look after their four children (played by four real life siblings).
Admittedly this does not sound like the most riveting story, and I must confess that if this was not directed by Michael Winterbottom (one of my favourite directors) then I may not have watched this myself. I am however very glad I did as it is a deeply personal and powerful film avoiding all the clichés that a lesser director may have tripped over. I found that this film captures perfectly with raw and passionate realism just how easy life passes us by due to its struggles and routine. The concept is a little different, only shot a few weeks at a time over the course of five years. The almost real time growing up of the four siblings helps add to the feeling of poignancy and tragedy of life just passing by quicker than we would ever like. It all serves as a poignant reminder that this is irretrievable time that Ian will never get to spend with his children and that we (and those we are close to) often suffer for the mistakes we have made.
I know this if a film that will not appeal to everyone and there is no real conventional narrative structure. There are no real character arcs as such and not a massive amount of narrative closure, but does life ever truly have character arcs or narrative closure?
However, neither character is judged nor given a back story; we learn about their personalities through experiencing their daily struggles with them and can both relate to them and care about them. Simm and Henderson give honest and raw performances evoking genuine sympathy for their everyday characters. The episodic structure of the narrative is held together by a poignant score from Michael Nyman that truly evokes the sombre but also at times optimistic and compassionate tone of the narrative.
Though of course unlikely to appeal to a huge audience, Everyday is a refreshing piece of cinema depicting everyday lives and characters we can truly relate to. It is raw, poignant and honest reminding us why Winterbottom is one of Britain’s truly original and greatest film makers.