"I love you Dex, I really do. I just don't like you anymore."
One Day is filmed with a lot of beauty and manages to evoke plenty of emotion and heart, it’s just a shame that some of the character’s bring the whole ensemble down.
Based on David Nicholls best seller, One Day centres on the lives of Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) and Emma Morley (Anne Hathway) on the 15th July of each year. The first thing I will mention is that this book is by far my favourite of this year. It is so wonderfully written with very real, relatable characters that spark emotion at each turn. I obviously didn’t love the film in the same way, but nonetheless I very much enjoyed it.
Director Lone Scherfig managed to really capture the essence of the book, projecting the same heart that Nicholls created. The story itself is a genuinely original and beautiful idea. Seeing two friends live their lives through a series of portholes each year is a really clever way of shifting time but allowing us to still keep close and up to date with the characters relationship. Although Dexter and Emma deeply care for one another, their paths move in very different directions through the trials and tribulations of life. It is this turbulence that keeps up desperate for the characters to stay connected with each other. It’s an important empathetic aspect that the audience can’t help but feel which really allows us to deeply involve ourselves in both Emma and Dexter’s life. We need to possess this in order to gain the full impact of the film.
The acting is probably the worst part about this film. On the whole, Jim Sturgess did a fantastic job. He is a very attractive male and looks-wise is everything Dexter should be. I thought he played his part well, he was pompous and arrogant to start with which rightfully made us dislike his character, but later managed to mature into a character most women would love to have in their life. My only qualm with him would be the accent he put on in his younger years. He came across as an upper class snob which I felt didn’t particularly suit his character.
Anne Hathway however was something else. There is no way in hell this part should have been hers. Physically, she is everything Emma Morley should be and in hindsight, that is probably the only reason she got the role. Her attempt at a Yorkshire accent is possibly one of the worst things I have heard in my life. She starts off with a really posh southern accent with American twinges, and occasionally throws in a really broad Yorkshire sentence. It is physically impossible not to notice this and as a result is really distracting to the rest of her performance. This is such a big disappointment to me mainly because I related to Emma’s character so much in the book and completely loved her because of it, but I struggled to keep that same level of affection for her in the film because of Hathway. Why they couldn’t have cast a British actress I really don’t know.
Rafe Spall who played Ian Whitehead, Emma’s love interest, really surprised me. He really stood out above the rest with his genuinely great performacne. He was nothing like I had initially imagined him to be, but that didn’t seem to matter when watching the film because Spall managed to make Whitehead better.
I’ve got to give a lot of praise to make up team as well. The transformation they gave Dexter throughout the 23years was just brilliant. The change each year was subtle enough that it didn’t feel like a big deal but it effectively managed to demonstrate the state his life was in. As I’ve stated before, Jim Sturgess is a very attractive man, and for them to make him seem unappealing in a really slight way is truly remarkable.
The ending of the film is very true to the book. Although it didn’t spark as much emotion as the book (I sat and cried for 10minutes straight after I had finished it) it still generated a pretty hefty amount – my mascara stained tissue is proof of that! The ending moved me in a similar way to the book which in my experience of adaptations is a hard thing to recreate. I think a lot of the reason this adaptation felt like it worked, was because David Nicholls wrote the screenplay himself. I think that was a really smart move because he obviously knows the essence of the story more than anyone.
Whilst this isn’t your usual love story and probably will never make it into your favourites. It is still a very worthy effort. I really don’t think this will appeal to everyone but it won’t disappoint those who have read the book (shame the same can’t be said for PS I Love You and The Time Traveller’s Wife...) It’s an emotional story and one where you’re willing things to work out for the characters you like so much. A good effort by Scherfig and a good watch.