One Day

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Lone Scherfig
  • Cast:Jim Sturgess , Patricia Clarkson, Romola Garai, Anne Hathaway
  • Release Date:September 01, 2011
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:107 minutes
  • Film Worth:$14.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

It doesn’t quite deliver on its promise, but this remains a witty, touching and largely enjoyable adaptation.

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With a big rave from Nick Hornby on the novel's jacket, David Nicholls' One Day, which smartly charts the relationship between two best friends by checking in with them on a single day each year, immediately claimed best seller status when it hit shelves in 2009. And like all novels that become talking points at women's books clubs, it seemed only a matter of time before it was scooped up to be adapted for the big screen. With Nicholls himself adapting his novel (as he did for Starter For Ten), Lone Scherfig (An Education) on directing duties, and the charming Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess cast as the two leads, suffice to say there was a lot of promise here. Disappointingly, this film probably ends up feeling less than the sum of its parts, but every moment we are privy to - bitter, sad and sweet - is enjoyable on its own.

Beginning on July 15, 1988, the relationship between Emma and Dexter begins on their college graduation, where Emma tries to seduce Dexter, only to botch it up, but the two vow to keep in touch. The film revisits the couple on this date over the course of two decades, finding Emma emotionally fixated on Dexter, but unwilling to settle for being just another name on his long list of easy lays. With her aspirations of becoming a writer slipping further away, she settles for an unsatisfying job and then an equally unsatisfying relationship, while he becomes a popular TV personality who drinks and does drugs, at first for kicks, and then as a way of  numbing the pain over his dying mother and his own loneliness. In some ways, it's a story of Dexter's climb back to redemption with Emma remaining his one true bud.

Scherfig, who delivered a keen eye in portraying young people trying to define themselves in the pitch perfect An Education, has that perceptive touch on display here again. While much of this is witty, light and occasionally sentimental fare, Scherfig invests the material with the underlying ache of two people searching for purpose and meaning in life and not knowing where to find it. And the two actors nail their characters as portrayed in Nicholls' novel. Sturgess often seems to be coasting on his charm and swagger only to stab you with a moment of sadness, while Hathaway finds the equal parts of pride and vulnerability in Emma.

The structure of the film - visiting these characters on the same day over twenty years - is both the film's strength and its drawback. Whereas the book segued seamlessly between years, things inevitably feel more abbreviated and abrupt when that same structure is condensed and applied to film. But what this does, even more so than the book, is reveal the way that life is ultimately but a muddled collection of memories, moments and moods, some to be forgotten and some worth holding onto.

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