British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom’s singular career has ranged from boundary-pushing indie touchstones Welcome to Sarajevo and 24 Hour Party People to improvised comedies (often starring Steve Coogan) like The Trip to unclassifiable films such as 9 Songs and Code 46. There’s an admirable fearlessness to nearly all of Winterbottom’s work. Shot in annual two- or three-week bursts over a period of five years, Everyday mounts a group character study about a large fictional family — a married couple and their four young children — trying to cope with the father’s extended stay in prison. Winterbottom makes full use of a documentarian‘s eye on the subtleties of everyday life, especially as regards the ways people change over time. It’s fascinating to see the actors grow older along with their characters in contrast to the artificial aging process typically found in movies. But there’s not quite enough story here to sustain the film in a satisfying way or fully justify the five-year shoot. Everyday constitutes a worthy experiment in narrative technique if not an entirely successful one.
Everyday begins a one-week run tonight at Zeitgeist Movies. More info here.