Why the Book One Day Is Much, Much Better Than the Film
Anne Hathaway stars in One Day alongside heartbreakingly attractive Jim Sturgess. Together, they represent perhaps the worst casting decision ever. Well, not the worst casting decision -- the history of film is long -- but readers of the novel which served as the basis for the film probably can't recognize the quiet, but winsome Emma as played by Hathaway.
The list of complaints is long: Hathaway's British accent is not entirely convincing, her wide smile and frizzy hair - a look that seems to harken back to her Princess Diary days - seems to betray her as too American for the role, and her role in the film is pathetic, rather than compelling.
While the premise of the book is gimmicky, it works because it seems
plausible. Dex and Emma meet and hook up in college. They keep in touch,
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as friends with a little something extra, throughout their lives until
finally -- despite periods of silence and the failure of other
relationships - they reconnect on a romantic level. This could be the
couple you knew from college, always an on-again-off-again something
with a little bit of drama and exaggeration thrown in for the sake of a
Even as Emma fails to make a successful career for herself
in her twenties by conventional standards, she remains a strong enough
character to serve as the leading heroine. This Emma is snarky. She can
put Dexter in her place when it suits her. She is confused, yes, and
navigating the world one job at a time - always holding onto her
affection for Dex on some level -- but she isn't letting herself be run
over at every possible opportunity.
Perhaps it's a matter of the dialogue. While many of the lines of the
movie are drawn directly from the book, they just don't work on screen.
The pacing of the movie is thrown off because it aspires to accurately
represent the book. In the book, author David Nicholls portrays Dex and
Emma's relationship by writing about one day of their lives for the span
of many years, starting from the day they meet until -- well, until the
On screen, the jump from scene to scene is uncomfortable. It
didn't necessarily have to be so. It's easy to get the sense that some
editing would have improved the flow of the screenplay, rendering the
dialogue exponentially more effective.
On a more positive note, Jim Sturgess is relatively convincing -- he
should be, since One Day is the story of his character's rise and fall
as much as it is the love story between the two protagonists. Sturgess
plays a likeable twentysomething-year-old Dex, pulling off a feat that
many wouldn't have been unable to do due to his character's general
irresponsibility and immaturity.
Later, Sturgess manages to carry Dex
into middle-age, remaining suitably attractive enough to soothe those
moviegoers irked at his female counterpart - in short, given the
screenplay and direction, Sturgess does his best possible performance
with the role. It's only a shame that this story, which was a bestseller
in print and could have been a classic love story done right, failed to
exceed expectations on screen.
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