One Day Review
Every week a new adaptation is released into cinemas but rare is the film that manages to impress critics, fulfil the expectations of the readers and bring in the big bucks at the box office. For every Lord of the Rings there’s a The Lovely Bones, for every Twilight there’s an I Am Number Four and for every Sherlock Holmes there’s a Dracula (have you seen the Gary Oldman/Keanu Reeves/Winona Ryder adap? It makes me wince just thinking about it). It’s all well and good making a movie for an established audience but it’s worth remembering that these viewers have a very specific set of expectations, some so high that they are damn near impossible to reach.
I’ll admit, I’m not a die-hard One Day fan. The novel I mean. I haven’t got a well-thumbed paperback on the top shelf of my bookcase which I keep coming back to. Having said that, I did decide to read the book before seeing the film and finished it mere hours before heading out to the cinema. I’m a bit of a closet chick-lit geek and I love a good romance so the book was always bound to impress. There’s something about that One Day which seems so romantic and optimistic; how One Day can change everything and set the path for the rest of your life.
The story begins on 15th July 1988. Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) have just graduated and circumstances have led to them fooling around in Emma’s tiny rented room in Edinburgh. After a brief bathroom break, the moment passes and the pair decide to remain ‘friends’. The film progresses, catching up with the pair on the same date for the next twenty years. They fall in and out of love, travel, build careers, etc, etc, and something always brings them back together.
As a film it doesn’t always work, as it’s difficult to conceive twenty years on screen. The ageing process consists of a few haircuts for Hathaway and grey hairs for Sturgess. It’s only when the date appears on the screen and when the central characters discuss their ages and ‘how far they’ve come’ that we remember the passing of time. The will they/won’t they romance is believable however and both leads are pleasantly charming, but I couldn’t get past Hathaway’s terrible accent! Emma is meant to be from Yorkshire and aside from the odd comment or phrase, she just sounded vaguely English/posh American. No mention is ever made in the film to where Emma is from so the producers would have done well to just make the heroine from some unnamed town/city and use the typical American version of the English accent (posh, non-regional).
With most adaptations, aspects from the novel are either rushed or removed entirely. Where this is particularly significant here is with Dexter’s party lifestyle. His alcohol and drug abuse (not a spoiler – it’s in the trailer) is watered down (most likely to enable the film to be viewed by as many people as possible, regardless of age) and seems to come and go at the drop of a hat.
Like PS I Love You and Confessions of a Shopaholic before it (two novels I loved and films I almost hated), as a stand-alone film, it’s perfectly average. As an adaptation, it’s terrible.