One Day Directed by: Lone Scherfig Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson Running Time: 1 hr 48 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: August 19, 2011
PLOT: Based on the novel by David Nicholls, Dexter (Sturgess) and Emma (Hathaway) spend the night together after college graduation and then are shown each year on the same date for many years after. Sometimes they are together, sometimes not.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of the book will appreciate seeing this come to life. Also, if you're a fan of missed opportunity loves stories you'll enjoy it.
EXPECTATIONS: Hathaway normally delivers, while I haven't felt the same about Strugess. Plus, it seems like a good gimmick to tell a romance. Scherfig directed An Education and I loved that film.
Anne Hathaway as Emma: It's easy to fall in love with Hathaway. As far as Dexter is concerned, it appeared a little more difficult to fall in love with Emma. She has a crush on Dexter, noticing him from afar. We don't necessarily know what she sees in him, but we know she's pining. Hathaway has the rare ability to look extremely average (Hollywood standards) and extremely hot. Mila Kunis doesn't have that average mode. It's definitely a plus for Hathaway in this role, but there are many times in the film you want her to fight for what she wants just a little bit more. I never once doubted her British accent. Score: 6
Jim Sturgess as Dexter: Dexter is a roguish brute. Is that enough for you to want him? It better be. Sturgess definitely has more to deal with in this film. Drugs, alcohol, fame and a cocky attitude are just a few of the things in Dexter's life. I just never felt like we get the sense to root for him. Is he nice? When do you like him? For me, it wasn't until the end of the film that I felt anything for him. Also, Sturgess' physical frame makes it almost look like Hathaway could take him in a fight. That is not what you want to think about when looking at this couple. Score: 4
Patricia Clarkson as Alison: She can do parenting in such a great variety of ways. It's like she's putting on a role player clinic and no one is noticing. First Easy A, then Friends with Benefits and now this. Here, Alison shows Dexter tough, polite love when he needs it most. Score: 7
Rafe Spall as Ian: He's too nice. It's like they simply designed the exact opposite of Dexter and thought we wouldn't notice. Ian is an unfunny comic, who can't create any passion with Emma. The problem is, now we have to watch Emma give him the cold shoulder while Dexter does the same to Emma. Score: 5
TALKING: The film does a pretty good job of not over-explaining what has gone on through the years. All we get to see is July 15. So one technique would have been for them to constantly say "remember that time..." While they do a good job of that, they don't replace it with much. The conversations lack charm. Score: 5
SIGHTS: They don't overdo the style changes throughout the years. The film spans about 20 years, and we get a slew of hairstyles. They feel right with the times. Dexter gets away with some awful outfits mainly because he's a TV show host. Shoulder pads, short hair, long hair and many other things try and help pass the time. Score: 6
SOUNDS: New songs by Elvis Costello? Where? When? I didn't feel it. The repetitive score (same rhythm, done slightly different throughout the film) is always a tough thing to pull off. One, if the rhythm isn't to your likely the first time, your doomed. Two, it can run the risk of getting old. For me, it was the latter. Eventually I was noticing it too much. Score: 4
BEST SCENE: The very end of the film when we see the rest of the first July 15. I liked Dex more than ever.
ENDING: They try not to end the movie on a downer, which is a good call, but I really could have used that feeling at the beginning of the film.
QUESTIONS: Did the movie start at one minute after midnight on July 15? Also, why make Dex so unlikable without giving me a reason to root for the two of them to be together?
REWATCHABILITY: No thanks, though my wife will be reading the book. So it might be fun to watch the film with her and learn the differences from book to film.
One Day feels like a gimmick that unfortunately never quite works. It's July 15 over and over again. Throughout the years Dex is selfish, sex crazed, a drug abuser and extremely unlikable.
Emma likes him. Correction, Emma loves him at times. Do you know what this does for me? It makes me dislike Emma a little bit. How could she like this guy so much? Not only that, I'm not a super-sappy nice guy who always feels like I finish last. I know this because I also don't care for Ian and can't stand that Emma leads him on. It's a romance I never want to happen.
I don't ever feel like I get to know the people around Dexter and Emma. The perfect example is on one July 15 when Dex is visiting with his new girlfriend's family. It's some game where you whack someone in the face with a newspaper. Dexter doesn't listen and takes an early swing, nailing his girlfriend. That kind of physical comedy is funny but has NOTHING to do with me feeling connected to these people.
The gimmick means you're only in these moments for a little bit of time. I found myself waiting for the next, knowing they couldn't spend too much time in any specific place with 20 years to cover.
July 14 is my birthday. So for me, July 15 is nothing special. That's what One Day comes off as -- nothing special.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10