Based on the best selling novel of the same name, One Day tells the story of Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew’s (Jim Sturgess) relationship, which started on their graduation day on July 15, 1988.
What was meant to be a one night stand, never was. Instead Emma and Dex form a lifelong friendship. Every July 15, for the next 23 years, the audience sees where Emma and Dexter are in their lives, how their relationship has evolved, what opportunities they have seized, and which ones they have let slide.
I was really looking forward to this film. I hadn’t read the book but I thought the concept of tracking a love story over 20 years, by visiting the major players on the same date each year, would be interesting and no doubt a tear jerker. Unfortunately it was neither.
The blame can’t be placed on Jim Sturgess or Anne Hathaway. Sturgess was great as the boozing, self involved, fame hungry, lost, Dex; and Hathaway, if you can forgive her terrible accent, played the awkward college girl who turns into someone who wants to make a difference in the world, well.
It was also disappointing that the supporting cast were not better utilised. Patricia Clarkson’s performance as Dex’s mum was a standout. Even without reading the book, you can tell that there is more of a story to tell here but that was never fleshed out.
Unfortunately 107 minutes is too little time to devote to this story. This would have been better served as a television series or even a mini series. A medium where the story can be teased out is needed. This film felt like the director, Lone Scherfig, was focusing too much on moving through the years rather than spending time developing back stories and relationships.
Because of the speed of the passing years, and the fact that major plot points are not explored, the audience is left not caring about what happens to Emma and Dex and, is ultimately left very unsatisfied.
As it reaches its climax, One Day tries to become profound. It wants to leave the audience with a sense of don’t waste your life away – time is fleeting and what you do with it is important. That didn’t work. I was too bored at this stage to take this in and was left thinking, yes time is fleeting and important and I am not happy that this film robbed 107 minutes of my life! I’d recommend staying away from this and invest your time in reading the book instead!