Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I’m not good at this.” “Maybe we can be friends,” says Dexter (Jim Sturgess) to his latest almost conquest Emma (Anne Hathaway), two college graduates on July 15, 1988 who are just beginning what’s about to become a 20 year friendship in the romantic film One Day. Emma is a working-class girl who dreams of making the world a better place and becoming a famous novelist. Dexter is a well-off, spoiled, self-absorbed charmer who believes the world is his playground and is only interested in having fun, fun, fun.
The film goes back and forth in time, always focusing on the anniversary of the day Emma and Dexter first officially met: July 15th. Through failed jobs, bad relationships, missed opportunities, and tragedy, Dexter and Emma keep turning to each other for support and comfort. Helping – and at times hurting – each other, what originally began as a friendship begins to turn into something much more. The two best friends start to realize their feelings for each other go much deeper and stronger than they had ever intended. Will Dexter and Emma ever finally have good timing and the courage to reveal to each other exactly how they feel, or will the strain of life and love prove too much and end their friendship?
One Day is a romantic drama that strives to be in the same league as such romantic classics as Love Story and An Affair to Remember but fails miserably. There is so much wrong with this film it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the horrible miscasting of Anne Hathaway as Emma. Her poor attempt at a Yorkshire accent, which comes and goes throughout the film, is painful and should have been forgotten all together. There is also NO chemistry between Hathaway and Sturgess on screen. The zero heat and non-existent attraction between the two stars makes it impossible to believe these characters could ever fall for each other.
Another big problem with the film is with the directing. Only focusing on the anniversaries of the day the two characters met throughout the entire movie both distracts and limits the attention on Emma and Dexter. Since the audience is only seeing the characters on one day of the year, throughout the years there’s no opportunity for the audience to connect and care about Emma and Dexter. The blunt and uncreative ways the director (Lone Scherfig) chooses to let the audience know what year the action is taking place goes from being distracting to out and out annoying. The current year bouncing around on Emma’s computer at one point as a screen saver before finally fading received groans from this audience member. The film also lumbers on and feels as though it takes 20 years to sit through.
Uneven, tedious, boring, and ultimately uninteresting, One Day is a film that won’t leave you with heartache, just heartburn and frustration that you wasted money on one of the worst movies of the year.
One Day hits theaters on August 19, 2011 and is rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence and substance abuse.
More on One Day:
-Jim Sturgess interview video
-Poster, synopsis, and cast list