Love, what a crazy thing it is. For some people it comes easily, sometimes with a first glance or hint of a smile from that other person. For others it’s an emotion or feeling that never surfaces, or it’s buried so deep within that it takes months or years to see the light of day. Love is a tough subject to film as it affects people in different ways, but ONE DAY managed to tell a simple story about love and time that will probably stick with you regardless of how much you actually enjoy the film.
Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) are celebrating graduation and are on the precipice of a one night stand. When things don’t work out as planned they change directions and become friends. They’re not just casual friends, this relationship spans decades where we watch their ups and downs in each other’s lives and on their own personal journeys. Each year we get to see a slice of their year on July 15th, which just happens to be the first day they met.
This story can only be described as a slow burn. The chemistry between Dexter and Emma is immediate, but the audience knows right away that it’s just not going to work out for our hero and heroine and they will probably not have a happy fairy tale ending. For the most part, Dexter is a jerk and is completely self-absorbed throughout the film. He has flashes of likeability but in general, he’s a tough character for most people to connect with. Emma on the other hand, is your typical girl next door that is smart, humorous and pretty much the girl of every guys dreams if they would just look past the glasses, frumpy wardrobe and unruly hair. You want the two to get together, but only because you know that Emma is smitten with her buddy even though he’s not ready to be loved by her.
Anne Hathaway is by far the better actor of the two, however, the film rests heavily on Sturgess’ story line which is at times unfortunate. We see way more of him than we really want to, but it never gets too boring. Director Lone Scherfig does a great job of giving the audience no more than 15-20 minutes of each day of every year, so the story progresses at a great pace and it’s fun to watch the characters evolve without having to see all the monotony of their everyday lives. It would have been preferable to see more of Emma’s life, but she was the constantt to Dexter’s haphazard lifestyle and the audience needed to see his progression more than hers.
This film isn’t one that I could watch over and over again. It’s predictable at times and does drag on occasionally. However, just watching two people over the course of two decades without being bored was completely fascinating to watch. It’s actually a concept I would like to see more often in films. ONE DAY just solidifies my girl crush on Anne Hathaway and I have more respect for Jim Sturgess as well. If this film would have been done by any other two actors it would have failed, but these two are charming enough to pull off this surreal romance.