Every Day takes a close look at the ordinariness of a family: the stresses of his awful job, her juggling a floundering career and motherhood against being a reluctant caregiver to a father she doesn’t entirely love.

Liev Schrieber’s Ned, a disgruntled scriptwriter who works long hours and feels tempted into infidelity, is theoretically the dramatic focal point of the film, in an emotional evolution that might draw comparisons to Kevin Spacey’s turn in American Beauty. And there are certain elements of the plot that might have followed that mold of suburban misery masquerading as art. Deft touches of warmth and humor in the right places lend realism and balance, making the honesty of this ordinary story inviting.

But the magnetic and emotionally forthright performances from Helen Hunt and Brian Dennehy make their characters the ones to watch. Crackling with equal parts anger and love for her family, Helen Hunt’s performance as Jeannie—stressed wife, mother, daughter—captures the emotional subtleties required by such a demanding role. Jeannie is trying to do right by a father, she quips, “has been depressed since the Fifties.” She’s pulled away from him by the needs of her husband and two sons: a teenager who’s exploring his homosexuality and an elementary schooler who plays the violin and asks anxiously thoughtful questions about where people go when they die. Immersed in the work of keeping her family together, she’s a foil for her dubious husband.

It sometimes gets to be too much—watch for the fury she puts into tears over a failed dinner. “You’re so angry,” Ned observes, and she snaps back at him with all the rage and love that any woman balancing too much will recognize.

Every Day recently had its world premiere at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, and will likely turn up at the multiplex or Netflix soon. Keep an eye on this excellent, ordinary, evocative movie.

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  • Goldman November 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I was very fortunate to see this premiere at Tribeca. It is a moving and raw piece about real life. The performances are spot on and the story is one that everyone can relate to that has a family. I highly recommend this. I hear it’s set to come out Jan. 14, 2011.