Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, studying in the same school, meet soon after school graduation, as young adults and become very close friends. Anne is in love with Jim but the latter doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. Their lives intertwine as they come close and fall apart over a period of many years. The film depicts what happens in their lives on 15th of July every year. Read the One Day review for more.
Business rating: 1.5/5 stars
Star cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Romola Garai, Rafe Spall.
What’s Good: The romance; Anne Hathaway’s performance; the first half of the film which entertains; the cinematography; and the background score.
What’s Bad: The excessive length of the film and the repetitiveness of the drama; the slow pace of the narrative; the unanswered questions that arise in the audience’s minds.
Verdict: One Day is an average fare which will not do much at the Indian box-office due to lack of star value.
Loo break: A couple, towards the end of the drama.
Watch or Not?: Watch One Day if you are a fan of romantic films.
Random House Films’ One Day is a romantic drama about two people, Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess), who meet soon after their school graduation and become friends for life. The film chronicles their lives and their relationship through the depiction of events that happen to them on 15th of July every year, right from 15th July, 1988, when they first meet, till almost two decades later.
After their first meeting, Emma, a working-class girl whose dream is to become an accomplished poet, settles for a dreary job as a waitress in a restaurant. On the other hand, Dexter, who is rich and charming, makes his way into the hearts of many women and spends many years as a successful television presenter. The two friends meet often and Dexter inspires Emma to do better with her life. Once, when they go on a holiday, Emma shares her intimate feelings with Dexter, but Dexter misses the opportunity.
As the years pass by, they drift apart. Dexter becomes a drunkard. His loving mother (Patricia Clarkson) passes away and he starts losing focus at the workplace. Later, he abandons television, marries his girlfriend of many years, Sylvie (Romola Garai), and has a baby girl with her. In the meantime, Emma takes up a teaching job and shifts in with Ian (Rafe Spall), a guy whom she knew from her restaurant days and who loves her.
Over the next few years, Emma breaks up with Ian, and Dexter breaks off from his wife. Next, Emma becomes a published author while Dexter just whiles away his time. One day, Dexter goes to meet Emma, who is now staying in Paris. What happens then?
One Day Review: Script Analysis
The screenplay of One Day, penned by David Nicholls and based on a book by him, is interesting and engaging in the initial reels. The idea of shifting across to the same day every year to take a peek into the lives of two persons, and how they have changed, works initially. However, after a point, the drama becomes repetitive as Emma and Dexter drift apart and come back together repeatedly. As the writer has included every year from 1988 to 2011 in the drama, he is sometimes not able to do justice to an incident that happened in a particular year – for example, on one 15th July, the audience is just shown a two-minute telephonic conversation between Emma and Dexter, which serves no other purpose but to show that Dexter is in France having sex with a young girl.
The pace of the drama is too slow (more so in the latter half). Add to that the excessive length of the film, and one starts wondering when the film will end, in spite of the well-depicted drama on screen. Where the screenplay also falters is in the characterisation of Dexter, whose life seems to be going through a lot of tumult. Since enough information has not been provided about his problems, it becomes difficult for the viewer to believe in or relate to his distressing condition. Also, due to lack of what happens in the rest of the year, which the audience doesn’t see, the viewer is left confused about the exact status of Emma and Dexter’s relationship.
On the positive side, many sequences in the movie stand out – the romantic scenes between the young Emma and Dexter; their first encounter; their swim at the beach. Such sequences will appeal to the youngsters and the romantics. A few well-written emotional scenes also leave an impact. The characerisations of the secondary characters in the drama – like those of Dexter’s father and Ian – are nice. But the biggest problem is that the audience is not used to watching a film about 23 years, in which the focus is on just one day a year. The dialogues are good at most places; they are very fine at some places. The pre-climax comes as a surprise and the climax is heartfelt.
One Day Review: Star Performances
Anne Hathaway is first-rate. She gets into the skin of the character and makes Emma a real person for the audience. She looks beautiful. Jim Sturgess does well but he doesn’t look old enough in the latter half of the film, when his character is supposed to have grown older. Patricia Clarkson does a nice job as his mother. Ken Stott (as Dexter’s father) leaves a mark in a small role. Romola Garai is effective. Rafe Spall does a fine job as well.
One Day Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
Director Lone Scherfig handles his actors well but cannot veil the repetitiveness of the drama in the second half. His handling of the romantic scenes is very sensitive and impactful. Rachel Portman’s background score is superb. It heightens the impact of the romantic as well as the emotional scenes. Benoît Delhomme’s cinematography is eye-pleasing. Costumes, by Odile Dicks-Mireaux, are very good, especially given the changes the characters undergo over the years. Barney Pilling’s editing is sharp.
One Day Review: The Last Word
On the whole, One Day is an average entertainer which will appeal only to a select few in the Indian metropolitan cities.