One Day (2011)
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: David Nicholls
Based On: “One Day” (Novel) By: David Nicholls
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Time: 108 minutes
Genre: Drama, Romance
USA Release: 8/19/2011
On DVD (USA): 11/29/2011
In a surprising turn of events, “One Day” is not as great as it could have been. Although the script is penned by the author of the book it’s based on, it lacks balance as it flips from year to year in what should have been an weeping tragedy. As the novel it’s based on is an international bestseller, sit back as I give you my take on what made the adaptation of “One Day” to the big screen go down in flames.
In “One Day” we follow the lives of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew who meets on their college graduation; July 15, 1988 (which is also St. Swithun‘s Day). And over the next 20 or so years we follow what they are up to on that day every year. We watch as the two of them begin real life in their early 20’s, both on very separate paths. Dexter is ever the luck one as he begins his career in the entertainment business and over times becomes a presenter of a late night talk show. As for Emma, we watch as she wastes her life away working for a crappy Mexican joint. We see that the two keep in touch through various letters and phone calls, but only actually see each other from time to time, even with that the two have become best friends. As time moves forward, things start to take a turn, as Emma becomes a teacher and Dexter well, he is just trying to make it through the day sober.
Now if my summary is vague that because there is a lot going on, and I don’t want to give away anything that might be major. Another reason is the fact that we move through the years so quickly at times, that you never get a sense of what you just saw. And that sadly lies with not only the director but also the writer, which is a bit of a surprise because if anything I thought that movie would fail with anything else but those. To further show my point; this is directed by Lone Scherfig, who brought us 2009’s “An Education”, and although that was a fantastic film, you don’t get anything close to the same effect in “One Day” which is very upsetting. The same goes for David Nicholls, who is the author of the actual book, and for reasons unknown, he can not pull off the same emotions and effects he did with his source material. It’s not the scenes alone that suffer although there are times that the movie is predictable, it’s the pacing that messes with you, some times we only spend a few seconds in a year which had me wondering why they even showed that year. For example there is one year that we just see Anne Hathaway swimming for a few second and then it jumps to the next year, I never saw the point in having that scene, it’s not like we see all of the years anyways, they skip over some a couple of times, so why did they leave that scene in? As for the rest of the movie, Rachel Portman’s music I felt worked with the movie, like with most of her work she has a cool use of soft stringy melodies, but again because of the speedy pacing you never get times to enjoy it with a scene.
With the acting, what would be your supporting cast is barely a blimp on the screen, scenes with Patricia Clarkson, Romola Garai and others are left with mere minutes in total. So again you never really get a good look into their characters, they are just kind of there, meandering in the background. Now I know that it might be for a reason that they are left being that way since this is a story dealing with mainly two people, but with their parts so small it just didn’t seem as balanced as it does in the book. At times this is a very touching and heartbreaking movie, which is what kept it from being a total waste for me. Most of which lied within scenes that stretched longer than a few minutes, where we really got to take a look at a character and see who they really are. Helping with that are the performances done by the leads; Anne Hathaway, who I feel is a very great actress, and has a full array of emotions, as seen in this role. Yes at times her accent was off but overall I thought she delivered a very heartfelt performance as Emma the woman who has her sights set on changing the world. As for Jim Sturgess, he too did a fine job playing Dexter, the take success however I need to, playboy. Together they had fine chemistry especially during the moments were it seems their friendship might end.
All and all, this is a ok movie, although in more of a bad way. At times there are good things going on but they are covered up by the quick pace so much that they just sink to the bottom as we move to the next year. In comparison to the director and writer’s previous work (including source material) and even compared to others of it’s own kind, this is a huge letdown. But what I think keeps it a float is not only the wonderful score done by Rachel Portman, but also the charming performances done by Hathaway and Sturgess. Throughout the movie you have touching and heartfelt moments, but unfortunately by the end you see you never get a real sense of anything.