Michael Winterbottom has had a diverse career, taking in war (Welcome To Sarajevo), crime (The Killer Inside Me), comedy (The Trip), music (24 Hour Party People) documentary (The Road To Guantanamo), sexploitation (9 Songs), thrillers (A Mighty Heart) and introspective drama (Genova). You can’t point at a movie and say (as much as we’d like to), 'That's very Winterbottom, that is' such is his varied style. Once again a new Winterbottom film is unlike anything he's done before but there's a chance you'll feel a bit underwhelmed with it all.
Karen (Henderson) wakes early, rouses her four children (two girls and two boys under seven), gets them on a bus, then a train to London where they arrive at a prison to meet Ian (Simm). Simm's inside for an unspecified reason - Winterbottom feels it's not important to divulge info on this - and these short visits, although the best part of his week, are killing him. With her husband stuck inside, Karen eventually succumbs to the advances of Eddie (Tighe).
Although it premiered on Channel 4 a few months back Everyday makes its belated appearance on the big screen. Shot on the fly - real locations, natural lighting and a handheld camera is deployed in a Dogma fashion - and using a real family - the siblings are actual brothers and sisters- Winterbottom strives for a realistic take on the drama. The organic plotting taps into this with Winterbottom working to show the everyday (ha!) travails of Karen and Ian’s boredom, both in a life of routine but at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Working co-writer Laurence Coriat again (Coriat co-wrote Winterbottom's Wonderland and Genova), Winterbottom is free and easy with the scenes, letting the kids say what they want to say, and landing on the subtlest of plot developments that do eventually happen by. The naturalness of the actors lends itself to intimacy, like we’re spying on their private moments.
Shot over five years, which is an achievement in itself, one wishes that there was something meatier to show for all that effort but Everyday is so slack it can halt the audience’s involvement when it matters most. Simm and Henderson cut a believable couple, though.