One Day

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway in One Day
Photograph: Giles Keyte Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway in One Day
The worries about this adaptation of David Nicholls’ much-loved and likeable 2009 novel were obvious when it was first announced. Could Anne Hathaway pull off the character of a Northern lass (‘We spent all our summers in a caravan in Whitby’), first as an Edinburgh student and later a graduate working in a Taco joint? Would Danish director Lone Scherfig be sensitive to the book’s subtle but playful period stylings? Would the film’s makers resist the temptation to tip what was already a slightly gimmicky and cloying story into the territory of full-on romantic sap? And how could one film do justice to 23 eventful years in the lives of confident public-school boy Dexter (Jim Sturgess) and earthy, less assured Emma (Hathaway) – two opposites whom the novel visits once a year on the same date they first have a romantic encounter in 1988 as students?

The result is a compromise – but not a disastrous one. Nicholls’ script follows his novel closely as a ‘greatest hits’ spin on the book, rather than taking it anywhere new. Dexter follows a path of success, hubris and self-destruction, followed by rehabilitation, while Emma takes equally as long to discover what she wants from life and a friendship with Dexter, but without the accompanying obnoxiousness.

Inevitably, the story feels filleted, although thankfully it gains substance later on. There are strong comic turns from Rafe Spall as Emma’s boyfriend and Romola Garai as Dexter’s joyless wife, while Scherfig avoids laying on the period tics too thickly even if she doesn’t display huge insight into these years. Troublingly, Hathaway’s accent is too wayward to convince, but there’s a lightness to her acting that helps paper over the cracks. Sturgess’ performance emerges as more layered, perhaps because the book, too, was always less about the two of them and more about the world waiting for Dexter to grow up.

Visually, the film is warm and uncomplicated and deals in easy extremes: shabby flats look like Victorian London, upscale ones like hotels and no trip to Paris is complete without shots of the Seine and cute cafés. The film might make the book look less astute and interesting than it is, but it still has an undeniable emotional wallop by its close.


Release details

Release date:
Friday August 26 2011
108 mins

Cast and crew

Lone Scherfig
Anne Hathaway
Jim Sturgess
Patricia Clarkson
1 person listening

Spoiler alert Have not read the book and was shocked at the graphic demise of the lead female character. Most moving scene was Dexter carrying his poorly mum upstairs. Why were Ann Hathaway's characters parents not featured? Enjoyable period piece and soundtrack

I'm shocked by the negative comments from other viewers, my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed this film. I have not read the book so can't comment on how similar it is too the film, but it is not a hard film to follow and enjoyed in its own right. I thought the acting was great from both the leads (although Anne should have stuck to doing a southern English accent rather than adding random northern bits rather inconsistently!). Its a fairly slow paced film, but it didn't drag. I enjoyed watching the characters develop and warmed to both of them; Emma got on with life, despite being disappointed in love and I felt sympathy for Dexter who found himself living the high life but was quite screwed up. A good yarn!

heartbreaking film. i was in tears and im only 12! sad film if you like crying go and see this..:/ xx

Bar Hathaway's 10% of lines spoken in a Liverpudlian accent (why? she does a perfectly good southern's accent and the fact she is a Northerner is neither here or there!) this would have skimmed into 4* territory for me - though on reflection this could simply have been only as I was fearing the worst. I feared without reason though. This is good stuff! 7/10

A fair review by Dave Calhoun . . . . I've not read the book but it's clear that the transition to film has not been totally successful That said it's still an interesting effort . . . .Don't believe what other critics say about Anne Hathaway .. . she's very good in this .. It's typical of the English Critics and the London Eng Lit brigade to try and blame an American for the film which ultimately fails because it can't rid successfully translate a novel's structural devices into those appropriate for film. That said . . . my biggest disappointment was the director's decision to go for long-shots when filming Jane Hathaway in the skinny-dipping scene . . . Unforgivable!

If I hadn't read the book I wouldn't have known what was going on. The characters in the book were likeable, but far less so on screen. The story could be used as a lesson in '100 good reasons to forget a one night stand'. Em hankered after a pointless individual (Dex) for years, and only got him when he was a broken, empty shell of a man who had systematically sh@agged everyone else (including her flat mate) who had had the misfortune to stand in his eye line for more than two minutes. However, it was a good lesson in fashion and hairstyles throughout the decades which is illustrated when Em discovers hair straighteners and brushes up towards the end. The film was a verbatim of the book, and would have had as much impact if someone had just read it to the audience with a PowerPoint presentation running on the screen. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone who has read the book.

*** This review may contain spoilers *** Yes, entirely predictably (well, you probably guessed as much from the trailer), they made an utter pig's ear of it. The Good: As Dex, Jim Sturgess is decent - nails the look, and the accent (both of them). Rafe Spall, as hapless wannabe comedian Ian is also fine - although there isn't a scintilla of genuine anguish about him when he's dumped, but hey, it's not his story right? (To be honest, it's a wonder they didn't simply represent him with a balloon on a stick.) It does have a few reflective moments of stillness, which are incredibly welcome - mostly concerning Dex and family (if the book was arguably slanted more towards Emma's side of the story, here it favours Dex) - but they're all too rare. The Bad: All too rare, because this one zips along like it's left the iron on (no mean feat in an 108 minute movie), galloping toward the denouement so that any emotional investment we might have made in it is almost completely wiped out. 1997, for example, literally lasts a swimming pool length. I know book-to-film adaptations bowdlerise to an extent, but this is absolutely ridiculous. There's also an argument to be made about the wisdom of letting writers adapt their own screenplays. Perhaps some sense of objectivity is lost in the process. Oddly enough, a previous David Nicholls' TV mini-series called 'I Saw You', starring Fay Ripley, is practically a warm-up for One Day, and is absolutely wonderful - very worth tracking down. That was in three parts. If the makers of One Day hadn't been so concerned with making a quick buck (usual story), this would have benefited from a mini-series of its own. But then, of course, there's no money in Telly. At its worst, the film's truncation manifests in a reliance on phone calls between the pair, which makes it seem as if Sturgess is frankly *stalking* Anne Hathaway. *That* twist, at least, is intact, and somewhat shocking. But in the same way a sudden glimpse of a mink being flayed alive in the middle of a Disney cartoon might be. Couldn't they have found one single British actress for crying out loud? Yes, I know only too well about the need for overseas investment. But you're not looking at Anne Hathaway thinking, 'working-class Northener' you're distractedly thinking, 'Isn't that... Anne Hathaway, working in a Tex Mex restaurant in Camden?' Romola Garai, who plays Sophie, would have done better - dressed-down a bit. (Or as often suggested, Carey Mulligan.) And how do they pull off Hathaway being only subtly attractive? Oversize specs. Because, you know, specs always make people look *dowdy*, apparently. I'm not even going to talk about her accent. You've heard it. It ranges from Angela's Ashes to... well, to Hathaway's own American accent, in fact. The Ugly: The more I think about this, the crosser I get. Film Emma never has any tawdry affairs, as in the novel, as it wouldn't suit her martyred character - and it wouldn't suit the fragrant Hathaway. A layered, interesting character becomes a 2-dimensional pouter; pure and nun-like. Just waiting around for Dexter to be ready, waiting for him to finally come around, and save her tormented soul. It's repulsive, actually - and *totally* a betrayal of her character and the spirit of the original. In short, it's not the very worst film in the world - it's just completely and utterly unremarkable; Sub-Richard Curtis, which is something this lovely and moving book just isn't.

LIKED NOT LOVED THE BOOK CHAPTER 18 GOT ME THOUGH. Agree with antonia Hathaway does good work here and the rest of the cast are excellent Scherig and Nicholls capture all the big parts of the book and i gasped louder than any one in a full cinema at c18 Would recommend to fans of the book and anyone wanting some light comedy that didnt involve human waste eg EBT'rs

I think this reveiw describes the pluses and minuses of the film well. I was impressed by the Dexter character as the film develops. It is not as good as the book, nor does it have the change of emphasis of the period down. however it is enjoyable and if one forgets about the original and is not worried about the accent of Anne Hathaway worth seeing.