During the time it took to film Everyday, director Michael Winterbottom steered Angelina Jolie through her best performance in A Mighty Heart, had Kate Hudson beaten to death in The Killer Inside Me, transported Thomas Hardy to India with Trishna, and oversaw Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s comedy ramble, The Trip.
He also gave Colin Firth plenty of grief in Genova and hooked up with author Naomi Klein for anti-capitalism documentary The Shock Doctrine.
So it’s a wonder how he found time to make annual visits to Norfolk for this story of a family kept apart by unchangeable circumstances. But time is what it’s all about, specifically that lost by an imprisoned father and thus denied to his children.
Essentially a dramatised spin on Michael Apted’s ground-breaking documentary 7 Up, Everyday is built on the reliable foundations of John Simm as the remorseful jailbird Ian and Shirley Henderson as his stoical wife Karen.
With each chapter covering no more than a few days a year, mainly around her prison visits or his rare days on release, the pair create a credibly stagnant relationship. Forced to snatch whatever intimacy they can, their frustration is palpable. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Karen finds herself accepting companionship from elsewhere.
However, it’s through their kids - played by real-life siblings Robert, Sean, Katrina and Stephanie Kirk – that the lost moments and passage of time truly hit home.
Shooting in and around the Kirks’ family home and school in the East Anglian countryside, Winterbottom finds the perfect background against which to capture their rapidly passing childhood (though the film’s most cinematic aspect is undoubtedly Michael Nyman’s typically insistent string score).
Unfortunately, while the kids’ personalities shine through and the seasons pass prettily by, the director and his regular co-writer Laurence Coriat offer little by way of conflict or incident. Bordering on the mundane, this is drama in the lowest key.
With a talent as prolific as Winterbottom, it’s inevitable that some concepts prove to be more interesting than their execution (see also 9 Songs and Trishna).
Yet most would count Everyday a worthwhile project. And whatever anybody thinks, we won’t have to wait long to see what the moviemaking Duracell bunny does next.