My goodness. This weekend while channel surfing, I stumbled upon a film that until this point, I had successfully avoided – the Jim Sturgess Anne Hathaway tearjerker One Day. Despite its best intentions the film just did not do anything for me. Well, there was that wince inducing moment near the end that I did have a slight chuckle. However, I do not think that was the response the filmmakers desired.
The story of One Day is adapted from the bestselling novel by David Nicholls (also wrote the screenplay). Upon getting together on graduation night, Dexter (Jim Sturgess) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) develop a friendship that we, the audience, drop in on, on the same day July 15th (St. Swithin’s Day), over the course of 20 years. Whereas in the novel, each chapter chronicles a single year, the film does not have this luxury so the narrative skips a few years at a time, still focused on the “one day”. This aspect of the movie is well executed.
The performances overall were quite good; the excellent supporting cast includes Rafe Spall, Romola Garai and Patricia Clarkson. The one slight disappointment is Ms. Hathaway. This is not entirely her fault for, if I am honest, the kerfuffle in the media at the time of the film’s theatrical release regarding her Leeds accent was a bit of a distraction when watching her onscreen.
The film is wonderfully shot under the direction of Lone Scherfig (An Education, Italian for Beginners). So one would think that this is a wonderful formula for an emotive, romantic piece. But, as stated in my introductory paragraph, this was not the case.
What escapes me at this point is why, for the life of me, I walked away from the film thinking it ended as a bit of a mess. It had so much potential – unique narrative device, a great cast and director, but misfired where it mattered most – eliciting the necessary response from the viewer (me).
This is where you, fair readers, come in – what am I missing? Did you see One Day? If so, let me know what you think in the comments section below.