Looking back at the summer of 2011, it surely was a fun one for cinema! The Autobots and Decepticons returned for another action-packed war on planet Earth, Harry Potter made one final stand, and the Apes took a mighty revolution! Not sure about you, but my adrenaline has been sky-high all summer long so a calm, cool, and quiet film like One Day was the perfect way to take a rest from the summer block-buster formula and enjoy a story over action for once. One Day isn't an epic romance that'll have you weeping tears, but the film moves at an easy, simple pace with an incredible performance from its lead actor. It's worth seeing just for that.
Receiving such horrid reactions from critics, it shocks me to see One Day standing in such a crossfire. The film is beautiful and even sometimes gorgeous to look at. Lone Scherfig, who directed the 2009 Oscar-winning drama, An Education, uses the same style of direction here with One Day, and thanks to her, the film is an absolutely stunning sight to see on the big-screen. Though Woody Allen has already won the spot for making Paris, London look as beautiful as it truly is this summer, Scherfig still creates a gorgeous moving portrait in film and for that, her work is worth an Oscar-nomination.
I can't say if this is a bad adaptation of the book or not, since I've never read the book, but fans of the novel have no one to blame but the author of the novel himself if this film is so a disgrace to the literature. David Nicholls received very positive reactions from the novel One Day and from what I hear he wrote the book beautifully, and though I cannot compare the book to the film here, the film is too written quite wonderful. The dialogue is fantastic and the character growth clicks intensely. If Emma and Dexter were both loved in the book, I'm sure they'll be loved in the film as well due to David Nicholls incredible work adapting his own characters. The best of all, One Day doesn't feel like an adapted Nicholas Sparks novel. The romance isn't over-the-top, and the characters aren't living in a soapy world. One Day is the most realistic romance-tale about life and above all I've seen in ages.
The biggest complaint from critics over One Day is the performance by Anne Hathaway. It puzzles me that she was even cast for the role to begin with, where an English actress would've been a much better route to go. As great a female actor Anne Hathaway is, she can't do every performance perfectly and here her biggest challenge is getting the English accent down. From my perspective, the accent wasn't as bad as its being bashed for, but Hathaway does slip on the tongue quite a few times and it was noticeable. Because of this, One Day sadly isn't the perfect film it could have been. By all means I love Anne Hathaway, but this performance just wasn't meant for her. Thankfully, her chemistry with the film's lead actor does make up for her performance and saves the film.
The lead actor in the film being Jim Sturgess, I'm pleasantly surprised that he gives one of the best performances I've seen not only seen this summer, but this year. Playing Dexter, Sturgess does an incredible job making the character very, very likeable and though sometimes the character seems like a hapless mess, the actor is on-top with the role and also pretty passionate. It's too early to tell if Sturgess will receive an Oscar-nomination for his performance, but based on what we've seen this year,...as of right now he is high up on my list.
In order to follow a romance tale and be able to walk out taking away from it all, you have to have two characters that you A) root for and B) like. Both characters are very likeable even though one is an ass at times and the other has a fake accent. Hathaway's character Emma is a very independent woman who is smart, beautiful, but has not found herself just yet in life. She is passionate about writing but hasn't yet had her chance at the dream she's seeked her entire life. Dexter has found fame much easier than Emma, trough booze and woman. What amazes me most about One Day is the significant change in both character's personalities as the film progresses. It isn't days of romance, it's literally twenty years. The two-hour film lasts a lifetime for Emma and Dexter, and the fact that the movie does a great job making it feel real is incredible and for that they are easy lovers to root for.
Movies with unique premises are usually ones that please my standards quite high. Taking any ordinary date on the calendar, one where Emma and Dexter formally meet, every time a scene changes to the next day, it instead jumps to a year later. The film starting off on July 15th, 1988, the film journeys across a timeline a little more than twenty years long for both characters. Sometimes the characters are together on this date, other times not. What makes it unique is that sometimes interesting things will happen on the date, where in other scenes on different years its just another day where nothing interesting happens. We, the audience, don't get a peak at everything that goes on throughout the year and we have to follow the dialogue to follow what's going on and what we've missed since the previous July 15th.
It's interesting to watch and even though sometimes it is a tad bit annoying when the date changes at the strangest times during a scene, in the end it works out. This formula is a little similar to something that (500) Days of Summer pulled, and even though both films are extremely different, if you enjoyed that you'll probably like this movie as well. The performances by Anne Hathaway (even though not perfect) and Jim Sturgess especially make the movie an incredible watch. It's a shame this movie is taking back such negativity, because it doesn't deserve it one bit.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood