Image: Courtesy of Alliance Films - Anne Hathaway (left) and Jim Sturgess (right) star in One Day, an Alliance Films release. Photo Credit Giles Keyte
Legal Line © 2011 Focus Features LLC and Random House, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.
Dir: Lone Scherfig (An Education)
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Rafe Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Romola Garai
Reason to see: It's part of the 2011 Book to Film Club and on my list of Most Anticipated Films of 2011 (mid-year addition)
I was really excited to watch One Day. I loved the book, which we read in May for the Book to Film Club and book selection especially it's unusually narrative structure of touching base with out two protagonists Emma & Dexter on the same day year after year. I thought the casting for them was perfect with Anne Hathaway (Devil Wears Prada, Rachel Getting Married) as the bookish Emma and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, Heartless) as the flash hipster Dexter, and the both completely embody their characters which made it easy for me to love the film. And I really loved the film. I LOVED it. I love how it incorporated the unusually narrative structure and stayed very true to the book (I actually can't think of any deviation), which I can only imagine would be due to the writer David Nicholls also penning the screenplay.
I love how the film shows a lot of the everyday lives of Dex & Em, and how it can vary on good days to bad day because it's always on the same day of the year and you just don't know how it will turn out. How Emma can be down on herself and Dexter can be too high on himself and somehow they barrage each other to meet in the middle. It's a slice after slice after slice of their lives, each of them building, growing and toppling in different directions but still always being themselves, for better or for worse. It also manages to accomplish feeling of the depth you get from slow burn building of the stories, but it in fact the film goes by rather quickly. The result is a compromise of knowing rather than seeing the depth of the friendship between Dexter and Emma grow over time, which is my only criticisms of the film. And that's barely a criticism of the film because I didn't actually need it, but I did want it. I always believed the stage and strength or fragility between them, no matter when in time it was. I just wanted to see it more of them.
One personal treat of the film is the art director, costuming and hair. I might appreciate this more than other films as it's officially the first 'period piece' that I've lived through all the stages and I remember all the clothes, hair, glasses and heck even lighting trends of the time and they are all spot on. That gave the film something a little extra special because I could remember when I would have wore that dress or when everyone went for a certain style or when something was new, or when something had started to fade away. The film is very much about the long-term and how relationships can change and grow over time as well as how some things never change no matter how hard you try (or pretend to try).
But it's really about the characters of Em & Dex, and Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess are brilliant here, truly making the film. I think I'm slightly influenced as I heard the casting before reading it or just after I started and I could see them as the characters - especially Jim Sturgess as Dex. And I don't what they did to make him look different in the earlier years, but I didn't even really recognize him and somehow that was perfect too. Then all of a sudden it was like there! There he is! Really bizarre. The supporting I didn't know about going in and ended up being such a treat, Patricia Clarkson & Ken Stott as Dexter's parents gave a lovely depth to his character which can all to easily be brushed off as unlikable. But the biggest surprize was Rafe Spall as Ian, who is the funniest non-funny guy I've ever seen. Brilliant. So brilliant.
If you read and enjoyed the book I'd highly recommend seeing the film, and if you haven't I would recommend checking out the book first. For people that haven't read the book, it’s easy to misinterpret it as quirky cute or straight up romance but it's truly about life, love and real relationships. It's neither over the top whimsy nor gritty and dark, but fits solidly and perfectly as genuine and real. I loved it.
- Feature Commentary with director Lone Scherfig chatting about everything from the emotional resonance of the story and film, how she read the script before the book (wow!), how some of the dialogue is straight from the book, changes of the script along the way, the connection between the film and the book including discussing changes, shots and themes and items that are repeated or follow the characters throughout the, her draw to the story and the character of Emma and her insecurity, Dexter's character and when it's a challenge for the audience to sympatize with him or when you feel on his side, the continual culture clash between their two worlds, her philosophy on casting, the choice not to go with overly well known music for the time periods, notations of when there were deleted scenes or different/longer shots than what ended up in the film right down to the type face and the score and how because of all the time periods it's like 23 little films put together.
- Deleted Scenes (5 scenes, 5 minutes) combination of deleted scenes and extended scenes including more on 'the rules' on holiday, the seriousness of Dex's lifestyle, sympathy to Em's and great early scene of Dexter & Emma together.
- Em and Dex, Through the Years (3 minutes) film clips and interviews with producer Nina Jacobson, director Lone Scherfig, book author/screenwriter David Nicholls, actors Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess on the concept and the characters of Dexter and Emma and their relationship and the emotional impact of the story and how invested you become in the characters and the casting of Dexter & Emma.
- Anne Hathaway: Bringing Emma to Life (2 minutes) film clips and interviews with director Lone Scherfig, book author/screenwriter David Nicholls, producer Nina Jacobson, actors Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess on the character of Emma, including connecting to the character and Anne Hathaway portraying the roles (some crossover footage from Em and Dex, Through the Years)
- The Look of One Day (5 minutes) 3 Featurettes including Making a 20 Year Love Story, Creating Emma with Anne and Dexter's Transformation. Includes film clips and interviews with director Lone Scherfig, actors Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess, make-up designer Ivana Primorac, costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux on on the challenge of spanning 20 years and the approach and it's equated to how how it's like making 15 short films and having a different look for every scene, the creation of the feeling of being on a journey with the characters and how it's a subtle transformation over the years plus funny things like challenge of making Anne Hathaway look un-fashionable and Jim Sturgess saying he can tell the time and emotional place of Dexter by his hair. Brief, but interesting feature.
Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll own it
I'd highly recommend it to fans of the book, relationship dramas and dramas
Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews
© Shannon Ridler, 2011
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - August 23, 2011
Anne Hathaway (left) and Jim Sturgess (right) star in One Day, an Alliance Films release. Photo Credit Giles Keyte
Jim Sturgess (left) and Anne Hathaway (right) star in One Day, an Alliance Films release. Photo Credit Giles Keyte
Jim Sturgess (left) and Anne Hathaway (right) star as Dexter and Emma in the romance ONE DAY, an Alliance Films' release directed by Lone Scherfig. Photo credit Giles Keyte