Initially I was drawn to this for two reasons. The first was Anne Hathaway starring – she is Hollywood’s “princess” who shot to fame in her role as Mia Thermopolis in Disney’s The Princess Diaries – and secondly, because I am always up for a good romance. I knew how this one ended long before seeing it and, although I was far from happy with it, still I saw it.
She’s intelligent and has the book smarts to graduate from university with top honors but when it comes to interacting with and getting a man to pay her notice Emma (Hathaway) is totally clueless. She feels awkward and isn’t at all that interested in a relationship while pursuing an education. He is more of a flirt and even though he does graduate, he prefers the party lifestyle… still on graduation day Dex (Jim Sturgess) after little partying and drink, Dex is intrigued by Emma. The pair of them nearly have a one-nigh fling after they wind up together in at Emma’s… but both have a change of heart and decide not to ruin what they could have – they’d just be better together as friends. Life passes them by and before either of them realize it – after mistakes, career aspirations, changes and relationships with other people, the two realize they were meant for each other… but is it too late to make a relationship work – or will fate intervene?
Told over the course of twenty-some years, One Day is somehow a special movie without being “great.” The whole "feel" is that of an Indie film. It visits Dex and Emma always on the same day – July fifteenth, where they are sometimes together, sometimes not. As a love story, this is an interesting movie, but as anything else, this script is deeply flawed. Even when looked at as a dramatic romance, there are flaws that shouldn’t be ignored. Helmed by An Education director Lone Scherfig, this movie doesn’t seem like it strays too far from that production – it’s a story made up of vignettes that aren’t always so charming. One Day was criticized for more than one reason, but one of those was Anne Hathaway not being able to turn out a convincing British lilt. This is the second role that has found Anne adopting a British accent and in my humble opinion, I think she does a decent job with it. Sure, her accent does inevitably slip on occasion, but she holds her own. She and Jim had a believable chemistry and since I did like them together, I wouldn’t mind a future pairing between them – only perhaps under happier circumstances. Also in the cast are Patricia Clarkson and Romola Garai.
During the story, there is a concept that it goes against the grain of what is “usual.” It throws out common clichés and creates a scene all its own; that all changes nearer the end when such patterns become more pronounced. Dexter and Emma swap roles in a sense as his life drastically changes (for the better) and she lives the more sophisticated, single free-spirit lifestyle. The script seems to move at an alarming rate (understandable) but it does take time to feature the most important parts and I admire its tendency to do so. This movie still leaves an unpleasant feeling with its viewer – almost as if you are somehow cheated out of a happy ending because of the tragedy that occurs fifteen minutes before films end. Although it is unusual for me, I was able to “accept” it in part because the ending also glimpses healing – something not all movies would allow time for, but also because viewers have the benefit of seeing the scripts foretelling of its eventual outcome (i.e., as a result of the novel and because the movie opens in 2006 and backpedals to 1988). Although my mother didn’t care for this one at all, I thought One Day was a pretty thought but the execution was far too blunt a conclusion to be really satisfying.
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