I just finished watching One Day, and while it had its moments it did not live up to my expectations. I am approximately halfway through reading the novel that it is based on (and intend to finish the book later), but even with just having read half the story (and knowing how it ends) it’s hard to say that the movie lives up to the book. The following review will include some big spoilers, so if you want to avoid them you should probably not continue reading.
What makes the narrative stand out in this story is that it only takes place on July 15th of each year, telling the story of Emma and Dexter from the day they get to know each other in 1988, to the day Dexter spends with his daughter in 2011. This works well in the book because we get insights into events that have transpired in between the summers when the story takes place. While there’s still a focus on the present, we get a better understanding of how Dexter and Emma’s relationship evolves and goes back and forth over time. The movie loses some of this, and most of the first half of the movie adaptation lacks the emotional depth and character insight that we get in the book. It feels like a disjointed story, and for me it didn’t resonate until after Emma dies when we see Dexter trying to deal with it and eventually move on to remember the good memories.
That being said, I think Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess did a good job with their acting. My biggest complaint was Anne Hathaway’s accent. I’m not a native English speaker, but to me it sounded like she was switching on and off between American, standard British and Scottish, and I’m fairly certain that if I picked up on that, most of the locals would too. Ultimately I preferred Jim Sturgess’ acting, and I thought he did an especially good job in the scenes after Emma’s death. It was also nice to see them interact, and the cinematography did wonders for the overall experience of the film.
All in all, I didn’t think the movie lived up to either the book or the trailer, and I wish it had more depth and emotional resonance than it did. It is however an original way of telling a story and the acting is decent. I recommend checking it out, but if you are looking for something that will make a huge impression on you, it’s probably not the movie to choose.
If anyone has a different opinion, feel free to mention it in the comments.