Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Romance
Opens locally Friday, August 19th, 2011
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson
Directed by Lone Scherfig (Just Like Home, An Education)
Another popular book has been translated to the big screen, this time without Oprah’s help. In David Nicholls 2009 novel “One Day,” we peek in on a romance for one day a year, over the course of several years, and the film (adapted by Nicholls as well) follows the same structure. It’s a day of some significance...the anniversary of the day they met...but it's just a seemingly random day that allows us to look into the lives of our two lovers through the ebb and flow of a lasting relationship.
Sometimes they are together, sometimes they are apart, but all of the time they lack any real chemistry or connection, making “One Day” seem about that long.
Anne Hathaway plays Emma, who as a college student wears glasses so she must not be attractive (as movies go.) Jim Sturgess is Dexter, and despite having some egotistical charm, is really just a huge jerk if you think about it. They begin as friends in college and then share in an on-again, off-again relationship over the years.
Every contrivance of the romance genre is at play here. We know the two will fall in love, we know that at some point he will be unavailable and that she will be at another point. They will finally fall in love, and if this was a romantic comedy (it’s not), we’re pretty sure they’re going to end up together. We know that in a drama, that happiness seems either unlikely, or way too predictable.
The bigger problem here is that nobody really cares. Lack of chemistry is a killer in any relationship, and in films like this. Both Hathaway and Sturgess try their best, but trying and achieving are two different things. Hathaway struggles with her accent, and Sturgess fails to bring charisma to his character. My biggest question was, what in the world does Emma see in Dexter? He’s just a jerk. I hear he comes across better in the book. Something was apparently lost in translation.
The romantic storyline is not strong enough to stand on it’s own, and the “one day a year” concept ends up just being a failed gimmick. As does the totally unnecessary and laughable use of the titles on screen, each time they show the day and year. The words on screen pop out of a toaster one year, are dunked in water the next, and so on and so forth. It’s as if a high-school video student was being graded on his knowledge and use of After Effects.
I appreciate the overall idea, but movies shouldn’t be made based on clever hooks. If filmmakers want us to invest in their characters over the course of two hours, there simply needs to be more depth and care given to the story. Maybe one day they’ll figure it out.
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