11/20/2013 09:49 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Popcorn Preview: Everyday

Film: Everyday (2012)
Cast includes: Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones's Diary, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), John Simm (24 Hour Party People, Life on Mars), Darren Tighe (24 Hour Party People)
Director: Director: Michael Winterbottom (A mighty Heart, The Killer Inside Me)
Genre: Drama (106 minutes)
Opens November 22

It's totally dark when the alarm goes off. Except for the sound of heavy rain, the house is silent. It won't be for long because Karen has 4 kids, ages 3 to 8, to get dressed, fed and out of the house before sunrise. She drops the girls off next door; the boys are coming with her. After the train to London, there's a bus to Norwich and a taxi to Stockem Prison. There's the time-consuming security procedure before they're directed to #7 on the left. That's where Dad's waiting. After hugs, they catch Dad up... photos from Christmas... Katrina is speaking better... school is ok. The visit is over much too quickly, and Karen, Shaun and Robert do the long trip in reverse. Ian goes back to his cell and has to be content seeing his kids grow up in photos.

Meanwhile, daily life goes on. It isn't easy getting 4 kids up, fed and off to school in time for Karen to get to work. Her boss really isn't happy when she comes in late, but she's doing the best she can. On the next trip to Stockhem, Karen takes the girls. Young Katrina can hardly stop crying when she sees Dad. Ian and Karen don't have an opportunity to talk like husband and wife until Karen makes a trip without the kids. "I miss making love to you... Do you think about me?" he asks. "What do you think!" she answers. "Tell me." Ian wants more intimacy from Karen. "She's watching me," Karen says looking at the guard. Ian keeps urging Karen. In a big room with prisoners, visitors and guards, Karen's not sure she can do it. Finally she says what he wants to hear... "I like it when you fuck me."

Everyday follows an ordinary British family through the ordinary challenges of getting along while Dad serves a nearly 5-year prison sentence. It was Ian's crime, but it's the whole family that does the time. Sometimes the boys get in trouble, but Dad's not there. Stephanie gets her first boyfriend, but Dad's not there. Their friend Eddie takes a fancy to Karen, and Ian's not there. Everyday was filmed over 5 years, and during that time we see the children grow and mature. We see Karen having to be both mother and father. The film is so intimate and naturalistic, it could easily be mistaken for a documentary. It's very well done but may be a bit slow for some moviegoers. We never know what to expect from director Michael Winterbottom, but he felt this was a topic that should be explored, even if it took 5 years to film. American audiences will notice that the British prison system is quite different from ours, but the details don't negate the main focus of the film. Serving time is very trying, but returning to a family that's gotten along without you for years doesn't mean you can pick up right where you left off. "It's just too much. It's getting too much. This," says Karen. Ian feels that's what he should be saying, but he's underestimated what his crime has cost the family.

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
5 years of day-to-day getting by when Dad is serving a prison sentence

Popcorn Profile
Audience: Grown-ups
Distribution: Art house
Mood: Sober
Tempo: In no hurry
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Primary Driver: Being a fly on the wall
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking

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