19/08/2011

One Day


Like all films adapted from popular books, your enjoyment of One Day all depends on whether or not you weeped like a pathetic baby as you read Mike Nicholls' hugely successful novel. Unfortunately I'm firmly in the latter category (minus the weeping) which means I was never going to be able to watch Lone Scherfig's film objectively no matter how much I tried. In case you don't already know, One Day follows the lives of working class Yorkshire lass Emma Morley and spoilt richboy Dexter Mayhew on the same day over 20 years until they inevitably realise they belong together. On the page this format worked brilliantly as their lives unfolded and we're left hanging when things didn't go to plan (she didn't post the letter!) but on screen it seems and feels a bit rushed. Entire years are summed up in one shot (Emma likes to swim, we get it) and each day time is spent summing up what had happened over the last year so everyone is kept in the loop. It's nice to have a romantic film zip along instead of moving at a glacial pace but we're not given any time to connect with them and buy their relationship. They just assume people will and maybe those who haven't read the book will buy it, but I didn't.
  
Much has been said about Anne Hathaway's accent and yes, it is distracting. She goes from standard English to clipped to northern and it's hard not to wince at certain parts but I don't understand the need for people to ask why they didn't cast a British actress. Last time I checked nationality was not a deciding factor in the audition process and besides, I've lived in England my whole life and I couldn't do a convincing Yorkshire accent if I tried. The bigger issue here is why they decided to keep Emma's accent in the first place as she could've had any twang and it wouldn't have made a difference to her character. It's a shame everyone's focusing on that because otherwise Hathaway is lovely, charming and very much Emma despite moans that she's too pretty. Likewise Jim Sturgess makes a lovely, if at times trying, Dexter but the film is well and truly stolen by Rafe Spall as Emma's wannabe comedian boyfriend. Most of gags come from him and he's exactly what I'd imagine Ian to be like.


People will no doubt lining up to slag this off as yet another adaptation that didn't need to happen but that's harsh because One Day is miles above any other romantic film of recent years despite its glaring problems. You should still give the book a try though, it's quite good.