By News1130 Movie Addict Treena Wood
The history of taking a best-selling novel and converting it into a box-office smash is fraught with spectacular hits and colossal failures. I generally favour the book over the movie, and after seeing “One Day,” I wish I’d read the book first. It’s a cool idea for a story – following two friends on the same day of the year over 20 years, demonstrating how those key relationships can influence so much of our lives. While I enjoyed the movie, unfortunately the nature of film itself limits how the story can be translated on the big screen.
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess play Emma and Dexter, who meet in the early morning hours of July 15, 1988 after their college graduation in London. Like all irresponsible young adults, they end up in bed together hours later, but don’t end up sleeping together – they agree to become friends instead. On subsequent July 15th’s we watch the light of Emma’s ambition to be a poet slowly dim, and see her stagnate in a ho-hum relationship. Dex, on the other hand, experiences a meteoric rise as a TV host, which in the early 90′s also meant overdoing the drugs, booze, and sex. Things reverse in the 2000′s as they both experience loss, disappointment, and eventually forgiveness. This isn’t a Hollywood invention, so don’t expect a Hollywood ending, although it will leave you thinking about how that first day together influenced the next two decades of Emma and Dex’s relationship. It has a lot of the same feel as “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” and I also couldn’t help compare it to “When Harry Met Sally.”
Hathaway and Sturgess do a great job with their characters, although I had a hard time buying Hathaway’s British accent. They are funny and sweet, flirty and reticent. You can feel Emma’s lack of self-confidence and Dex’s happy-go-lucky bravado. Their painful life lessons ring true, including one with Dex’s mom played by the always-fantastic Patricia Clarkson. Director Lone Sherfig, who was also behind the 2009 Academy Award nominee An Education, uses cinema verite techniques like handheld cameras to maintain a realistic feel. The changing music and clothing of the 80′s and 90′s also had me smiling. Where the movie suffers is in its lack of depth, which isn’t really its fault. I had the feeling throughout the movie that each three-minute July 15th scene was based on a full, rich, nuanced chapter in the book, and that’s what I wanted. Of course, that would make for a six hour movie. Not a big sell.
1 hr 48 mins
Rated PG for nudity and sexual language
3 out of 5 stars