ONE DAY (2011)
Running Time: 108 mins. Rating: 3 Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Lone Scherfig
Distributor: Focus Features
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Rafe Spall, Romola Garai, Tom Milson, Jodie Whittaker, Tim Key, Ken Stott
As a true fan of tear-filled romances in the likes of TITANIC and THE NOTEBOOK, I held high hopes for ONE DAY. The film follows the lives of a poor, four-eyed political activist and aspiring poet, Emma Morley (played by Anne Hathaway) and a wealthy, charming and inevitably obnoxious Dexter Mayhew (played by Jim Sturgess) who over the span of 20 years come together one day each year on the anniversary of the day they met.
From 1988-2011, we watch the years go by with a variety of wardrobe developments and hairstyle trends. Danish director Lone Scherfig (AN EDUCATION) illustrates an exquisite talent in capturing the beauty of Paris and London, but the first couple of years really speed by as if flipping through the pages of an old photo album. And then, we get to the good stuff — Dexter and Emma go on vacation and when we expect them to get together, we completely understand why this will never happen. In shorter words: Dex is a jerk and Em (thankfully) has too much pride to let him ruin her.
Although Emma is obviously in love with Dexter throughout the movie, don’t think this is going to be some sort of unrealistic best-friends-become-lovers romantic comedy in the spirit of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. The film follows the book to a science, marking all of the more important cheeky quotes from Emma along with all the instances that keep tearing her apart from Dexter. It’s like a horse with a carrot tied on a stick, always so close…
Screenwriter David Nicholls adapted his own novel to make Dexter’s character more likable, turning the film into a coming-of-age story about Dexter. So much for “Em and Dex, Dex and Em.” It’s just Dex! The incredibly short scenes of his romance with his co-host and girlfriend Suki (Georgia King) and his wife Sylvie (Romola Garai) are insignificant to make us ponder why their moments were even incorporated into the script in the first place.
In contrast, Emma’s relationship with comedian Ian (played by Rafe Spall) is unfortunately more entertaining than her frustrations with Dex. For a funny guy that isn’t funny, he brings in a more comedic element just by being so overly pathetic and useless. The assumed jealousy between best friend and boyfriend isn’t very convincing and we have to wait for Dexter’s entire life to fall apart before we get to see Emma and him together at last.
When Dexter and Emma finally get together, their passion pours out uncontrollably for all of twenty minutes. Then we get to the real meat of the film, watching Dexter react after losing what was the one thing that gave his life meaning. “She made you decent, and in return you made her so happy.” It’s a shame the first half of the movie was just a series of chapters building the premise for the emotional roller coaster, which Dexter finds himself riding alone. If you’re looking for effective romance, the novel is a superior and ultimately more rewarding option than anything you should expect to get out of this disappointing film adaptation.
If you like this recommendations: The Notebook, Titanic