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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Anne Hathaway
Jim Sturgess
Patricia Clarkson
Romola Garai.
Directors
Lone Scherfig.
Screenwriters
David Nicholls.
Running Time
108 minutes

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One Day
Boy meets girl, again and again and again


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Plot
St. Swithin’s Day, 1988. Bookish Emma (Hathaway) and raffish Dexter (Sturgess) spend the night together on their last day at Edinburgh university. We subsequently pick up their friendship on various July 15s over the next 20-odd years, charting how their lives diverge and come together as they grow older.


Review
One Day
Subtitled “Twenty Years, Two People”, David Nicholls’ third novel, One Day, was ubiquitous in 2009, a stalwart on ‘3 for 2’ tables and book-club reading lists ever since. Yet for all its populist success, Nicholls’ book is no bland beach read. Out of its tricksy structure — we catch up with two friends on the same day every year for 20 years — Nicholls built up a recognisable, affecting central relationship, a pin-sharp picture of how Britain has changed over the last 20 years and a poignant portrait of how our youthful aspirations get realigned over time.

Following up An Education, Lone Scherfig follows Nicholls’ conceit faithfully but doesn’t really share its ambition or authenticity. Instead, One Day The Movie delivers a thoroughly enjoyable relationship flick. In taking snapshots of the lives of Emma (Anne Hathaway), from radical student to depressed Tex-Mex worker to successful teen novelist, and Dexter (Jim Sturgess), from carefree student to successful presenter of post-pub TV shows to washed-up mess, Scherfig’s film jumps rather than glides from subtlety and rawness to a broader comedic sensibility and a sense of grandiloquent romance.

Adapting his own novel, Nicholls the screenwriter has the good sense to import the best lines — “If I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life, it would be the gift of confidence; either that or a scented candle” — and key incidents from Nicholls the novelist. The book’s best set-pieces — the crap holiday, the Are You There, Moriarty? parlour game — always felt like a Working Title flick and come off a treat. Yet without the internal monologues filling in the gaps, these episodes don’t have the emotional heft they have in print — the years pass but you don’t feel the mileage.

Scherfig demonstrated with An Education that she has a keen eye for young people trying to find themselves, and it’s on display here. Sturgess and Hathaway make the friends-with-a-history thing feel grounded, the growing older realistic. The former delivers the sad swagger of Dexter and the latter sidesteps a wandering Yorkshire accent to find truths in Emma. Around them, the likes of Patricia Clarkson (Dex’s mum), Ken Stott (Dex’s Dad) and Romola Garai (Dex’s missus) do good supporting work, but it is Rafe Spall, as Em’s Star Trek-loving, failed-comedian boyfriend, who edges it.


Verdict
It may not truly capture the complexities of its source material but One Day is funny, winning and entertaining - if little else.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for One Day
Empire Star Rating

Yawn

Didn't empathise with either character; mostly because Hathaway's accent is all over the place, which was seriously off-putting and Dexter is just a dick. Occasional good lines and it looks and feels authentic. Just didn't care enough. I haven't read the book - maybe the structure of having one day a year feels cleverer in prose. In film, it just felt tedious. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by faulknerdrummer at 18:28, 09 September 2013 | Report This Post


One Day

This is a decent effort hampered by a) the fact Dexter is such an insufferable twat he annoys you everytime he comes on screen and b) Hathaway's dodgy northern/ southern accent - she's still by far the best thing in it though. I thought Spall seemed a bit of a cardboard cutout as the useless and unattractive boyfriend that Hathaway could never really love though. Still it was enjoyable to see it run through the years and... **** MASSIVE SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK **** ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 21:52, 24 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

L: Taizy I've read a lot of comments in other reviews saying 'Why would Emma stay friends/in love with a prick like Dexter' but truth is that some people (myself included) just can't rationalise why we care about our friends.  Their complex and growing relationship was much better portrayed in the book but given the basic structure to get through they couldn't have pulled that off and the idea is touched on in the scene where Emma tells him "I love you, I just don't like you".  After s... More

Posted by thetruth at 02:00, 11 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

I've read a lot of comments in other reviews saying 'Why would Emma stay friends/in love with a prick like Dexter' but truth is that some people (myself included) just can't rationalise why we care about our friends.  Their complex and growing relationship was much better portrayed in the book but given the basic structure to get through they couldn't have pulled that off and the idea is touched on in the scene where Emma tells him "I love you, I just don't like you".  After seeing 'A... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Taizy at 23:48, 10 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

All the evil taken out! I like that phrase! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 18:37, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

Loved Rafe Spall though. Was like his character in Shadow Line (my favourite performance on tv this year I think) but with all the evil taken out. ... More

Posted by BelovedAunt at 17:13, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

L: BelovedAunt Well you'll be pleased to hear I thought Never Let Me Go was very good. I thought One Day was saved by the last few scenes in Edinburgh. In truth until then I think you were wondering what the stunningly beautiful Anne Hathaway saw in the (admittedly handsome) total cock that was Sturgess. I haven't read the book and from posts above I believe some of his 'charm' is maybe missed from the film. It was leagues ahead of what seems to comprise the typical Hollywood tri... More

Posted by thetruth at 17:10, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

Well you'll be pleased to hear I thought Never Let Me Go was very good. I thought One Day was saved by the last few scenes in Edinburgh. In truth until then I think you were wondering what the stunningly beautiful Anne Hathaway saw in the (admittedly handsome) total cock that was Sturgess. I haven't read the book and from posts above I believe some of his 'charm' is maybe missed from the film. It was leagues ahead of what seems to comprise the typical Hollywood tripe though... ... More

Posted by BelovedAunt at 17:02, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

L: BelovedAunt Hmmmm....I found myself warming to it as it progressed. That was quite a unique way of making a relatively standard 'rom com' stick in the memory by a fucking huge truck through the middle of it. Never saw that coming - neither did Anne Hathaway!!t but not great... re very demanding! I didnt find much humour in it to be honest,it is at times grim,without even expanding on "that" scene. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 16:56, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

Hmmmm....I found myself warming to it as it progressed. That was quite a unique way of making a relatively standard 'rom com' stick in the memory by a fucking huge truck through the middle of it. Never saw that coming - neither did Anne Hathaway!!t but not great... ... More

Posted by BelovedAunt at 16:54, 08 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

It´s excellent really,and definitely not a rom-com. Good performances all round. I suppose love is the other person making you better! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 15:02, 07 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

Off to see this tonight as 'one for the Mrs'. My choice next time - Kill List or A Lonely Place to Die? ... More

Posted by BelovedAunt at 17:29, 06 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable, bring on the book!

I have never read the book, but got dragged to this today. Throughly enjoyed it, until THAT twist. Great film, though. ... More

Posted by nhassell at 21:45, 29 August 2011 | Report This Post


Enjoyable, bring on the book!

I did go into this one unsure what to expect and it does seem to be developing into a bit of a Marmiter, love it or hate it. I actually loved it. There are definitely flaws, one gets the feeling that as decent as the fim is it is impossible to do the book (of which I have not yet read) any form of real justice. And some of the years are better than others, (there is one year which features 5 seconds in a swimming pool, to which you think 'OKAYYYYYYYYY!') And some left out. Although thats perhaps... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 10:00, 27 August 2011 | Report This Post


Not Read Book I only Imagine A Film When Reading Books! Joking I would've Read The Book.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS. Really like this film it was quite nostalgic as it is set from 1989 up to 2011 they really nailed periods fashion etc and the transitions into the world of today. As a love story this ticks all the boxes romcom chick flick drivel this is not. Be prepared to shed a tear I tried to squeeze one out but I am too manly and have more empathy towards dogs named Hatchi. This film if you have not read the book will pull the rug from under you if you think you already know how it end... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 12:22, 26 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: :D

L: megank13 I have read the book 4 times in 3 months since seeing the first trailer for the film. I had to get the book, luckily I did, because I want to know Em & Dex in paper before the incarnations on the big screen. I'm gonna see it at the weekend & I cannot wait! I agree with what you said about the monologues, I think that would make everything easier to watch, to know what's going on in their witty heads, Em's at least, not so much Dexter cos his is filthy most of the time l... More

Posted by Aticus at 12:01, 26 August 2011 | Report This Post


Correcto Mondo, Mr Freer!

A spot on review by Mr Freer. I really liked Rafe Spall and Anne Hathaway did well despite the dodgy accent. It's just that without the inner monologues Dexter just comes off as a twit and after the great British cast in 'An Education' it's a shame they cast Patrica Clarkson in this and not a great British actress. It would have been cool if Carey Mulligan played Emma - the Mulligan / Scherfig duo to rival DeNiro / Scorsese. And I loved how Mr Freer worked in an Indiana Jones quote in this. Gen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ramseyrocks at 12:53, 25 August 2011 | Report This Post


I thought the book was surprisingly shallow and definitely overrated -- definitely a throwaway beach book I would say -- but would expect it to make a competent if average romcom... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by artilleryman at 21:26, 24 August 2011 | Report This Post


:D

I have read the book 4 times in 3 months since seeing the first trailer for the film. I had to get the book, luckily I did, because I want to know Em & Dex in paper before the incarnations on the big screen. I'm gonna see it at the weekend & I cannot wait! I agree with what you said about the monologues, I think that would make everything easier to watch, to know what's going on in their witty heads, Em's at least, not so much Dexter cos his is filthy most of the time lol ;) So glad that... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by megank13 at 13:44, 24 August 2011 | Report This Post


One Day

I have not seen this but having just read the source material (otherwise known as the book) on a beach I have to say that it was not very good or complex. The first half of Dexter was a study on fame which has been done by Ben Elton several times and the second half more an excuse for the writer to rant about babies,weddings and other post thirty trappings. I am still seeing at the weekend though. For the Mrs and that. Innit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Aticus at 09:28, 24 August 2011 | Report This Post


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