[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00527QYL0][/pullquote] Based on a book by David Nicholls, One Day focuses on Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) as two friends and examines their relationship on July 15 each year from 1988 to 2011. After meeting on graduation night and almost having sex, the two remain friends for more than 20 years and even when a few years pass without seeing each other, they are never far from each other’s thoughts.
The setting is very definitely Britain and there is some lovely cinematography highlighting the stunning settings of the British Isles. Even grimyLondonapartments have character and give the film a great sense of location. It really helps ground the action and engages you from the very beginning.
Both leads are in sparkling form, with Hathaway performing admirably with a hint of a Yorkshire accent. The director has gone to great lengths to remove her movie star looks, thus forcing the audience to engage with her character rather than her appearance. Her chemistry with Johnny Vaughn-a-like Sturgess is wonderful and the two are totally convincing. A special mention should also be given to Rafe Spall and Patricia Clarkson, who play failing stand-up comedian Ian and Dexter’s mother to perfection.
The film’s trouble comes in the final act, when the action grinds to a slow pace. There are some important and emotional scenes that are dealt with wonderfully, but a series of false finishes leave you feeling it should have ended 15 minutes before it does. It’s a real shame too, because the pacing was reasonably slow and character-driven up to this point, but the ending is really dragged out.
So while it is better than a lot of romantic-drama-comedies, it is not without its problems. The performances are great, the story interesting and in some parts captivating, but the stop-start nature of the finale really sours the overall experience.