|FILM| One Day
dir. Lone Scherfig
Screenplay: David Nicholls
Released: 19th August 2011
Distributed: Focus Features
One Day is one of my favourite books. I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. I reviewed it <here> a few months ago, and I recently sat down to watch the adaptation. I must say, I had seen the film before I’d read the book, which a lot of people frown upon, but at the time of watching it I didn’t realise it was a book, it happens! I absolutely loved the film when I first time I saw it and I’m actually grateful that I got to appreciate the film for what is was before the book forever tainted it.
I’m normally quite good at watching a film without having my views distorted by my love of the book, but because this book is one of my favourites I re-watched the film with a disappointing conclusion. As a stand-alone film One Day is great, and I loved it, but as an adaptation, it’s just average.
I know David Nicholls wrote the screenplay for this film, and I cannot fault the dialogue and the characters. They are what I loved most about the book, and I loved hearing a lot of the dialogue enunciated word for word from the book. It is what makes the characters relatable, and witty. I think that aspect does the book justice, as seeing the dialogue spoken on screen reiterates how authentic the dialogue was in the book.
The actors did a decent job in the movie. Anne Hathaway, who plays Emma, is one of my favourite actors because she is quirky, and independent, which is how I would have described Emma. She really brings out the character well, her body language and mannerisms embody the character. I can’t write a review for this film without mentioning the elephant in the room: The really bad accent. Unfortunately, the one problem with Anne Hathaway’s performance is that her English, or more specifically, her Yorkshire accent, was terrible. It was all over the place, but when you get over that, she’s great.
Jim Sturgess, who plays Dexter, did a decent enough job. His character is frustrating, and I think he brings across his arrogance well. It wasn’t a stand out performance for me, until the end (which I’ll discus later), but I think overall he embodied the character well.
I think in hindsight, the thing that lets this film down is the time constraints of movie making. It’s not usually something that bothers me as long as major plot points are involved. In the case of One Day, it’s almost that there a too many plot points! So much so that it feels rushed and you can’t see the characters growth as much as you could in the book. Every year seems to whip past before you’ve got a sense of how they are in that year. This didn’t bother me at all before I’d read the book, but after it was one of the things that stuck out to me. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things.
I’ve not got too much to discuss in detail of the film, it’s mainly spoilers on the ending. So for those that haven’t read the book/seen the film, I’d advise you to skip this next section if that is the case, and I’ll see you at the summary.
Like I said, I haven’t got too much to discuss in depth, it’s mostly just the ending that I wanted to talk about. I think this is where I realised how much I was annoyed with Dex in the beginning of the film, and how frustrated I was with the pace of the film. In the book, I got a sense of Dex’s growth as a character, and in the film he just seemed arrogant all the way through until the final scene on the hill with his daughter. Reflecting on Emma’s death was the only moment I saw the true Dex throughout the film. Emma’s death seemed really sudden too, I understand that it represents the frailty of life and they’re tragic love story but it was more jarring that tragic on the screen. I suppose because it’s more graphic on screen.
Overall, I think this film works well as a stand-alone film but as an adaptation it’s let down but time constraints. The pace of the book doesn’t translate well on to the screen and therefore smothers the character development.