Adapted from the novel by David Levithan, “Any Day” may, at first glance, look like your run of the mill young adult schmaltzy romance but lurking behind that façade is a sweet and surprisingly affecting sci-fi romance built around the charismatic performance of lead Angourie Rice. It also marks the resurrection of Orion Pictures, the long-dormant movie studio.
‘A’ is a travelling spirit who wakes up in the body of a different teenager, every day. One day, ‘A’ wakes up in the body of Justin (Justice Smith), the neglectful boyfriend of Rhiannon (Angourie Rice, “The Nice Guys”) and spends the day with her, falling in love. ‘A’ resolves to return to Rhiannon every day and find a way for them to be together.
The film opens with ‘A’ waking up in the first of many new bodies and at first, A’s nature, origin, motives and intent are clouded in mystery. As the days go by, the story unfolds into a sci-fi drama mixing “50 First Dates” and “Quantum Leap” and manages to create a cohesive story that never feels the need to descend into schmaltzy drama or zany comedy. It also uses its fascinating premise – which beguilingly remains unexplained – to gently explore the topics of sexuality and gender fluidity in an open and unconditional way that speaks to a generational difference in how those issues are perceived. It’s also unafraid to touch on some of the darker elements of its potential – within the limits of its 12A rating – and it’s at its most “Quantum Leap”-esque when ‘A’ and Rhiannon strive to help prevent a young girl from committing suicide.
Unlikely to survive the oncoming superhero onslaught, this might be one you’ll need to catch on DVD or streaming unless you’re very lucky with your local cinema but with an intriguing metaphysical concept and some interesting social commentary, it delivers something with a little more substance than your standard coming-of-age romance.