One Day (2011)
So the embargo has been lifted and I am free to discuss my thoughts on Lone Scherfig’s latest offering, an adaptation of the novel ‘One Day’ penned by David Nicholls, who kindly grants the film authenticity by writing the screenplay himself.
Now those of you who know me will know that I’m not a massive fan of ‘Romance’ films - I like to go against the female stereotype like that…Kidding, they just tend to bore the hell out of me, follow the same pattern and end well, predictably.
I will only really watch a film that looks ‘romance-ish’ if someone I respect puts in a lot of work to persuade me and the only films based around romance that I really remember/rate are:
Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet adaptation (let’s face it, that doesn’t end well)
Richard Curtis’ Love Actually (tremendous cast-more than one story)
So, why would I accept an offer to see a film that looks to me to be a ‘romance’? Well if I’m completely honest….. I just wanted to have a nose around Working Title Films, as they are responsible for an awful lot of my very favourite talkies.
So back to the film, I attended the screening last thursday, signed the non-disclosure agreement thinking “I probably wont have much to say about it anyway” ….and then I saw the film. And It took me completely by surprise. So much so that I just began a sentence with ‘and’. And here I am doing it again.
I have not stopped thinking about the film since the credits began to roll and have been dying to tell someone about it. So here goes.
I can’t help it. I loved it. It’s just not what I expected it to be at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not created some new, ground-breaking genre, and there will still be (like in any film though) moments that you may predict/see coming but for me it definitely followed an interesting and often unexpected pattern.
It helps that the film follows two people, Emma and Dexter, on just one day (hence the title) over the period of 20 years. You have no idea what has/could have happened between them during each of those years (after all, a lot can happen in a year) so the story never seems to drag as the characters’ age and develop quickly (and believably - take note Harry Potter Epilogue).
I heard a lot of fuss before I even knew about the film (or its title) about Anne Hathaway playing a girl from Yorkshire and that her accent is rubbish….This is that film. However, it isn’t a rubbish accent, on the contrary it’s a very strong English accent…it just isn’t very Yorkshire, only occasionally do you hear the Yorkshire twang. (Also to her credit she never drops the accent -i.e. to American - which is brilliant).
I did feel that if it was such an issue/distracting, she should have just stuck with an RP English accent, at least it would have been consistent but to be honest you just don’t give a fuck, her performance is outstanding.
That’s the reason I think I really connected with this film. The performances, the characters and the writing. Each role was perfectly cast (though some will probably argue with me as I haven’t read the book) and no character was 2-dimensional, they all had different shades and layers, you could hate them one minute and not help but love them the next - it made them extremely realistic and quite simply human.
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess shine as the leads, you can see and feel their emotions, their character age, their development throughout; they completely become Emma an Dexter in the film and you become personally invested in their lives and wellbeing as a result.
The supporting cast are outstanding, with the likes of Patricia Clarkson (who knew she would make such a convincing Brit?) Rafe Spall, Jodie Whittaker, Romola Garai, Ken Stott and Georgia King providing both excellent comic support and touching moments.
It’s very funny. It really is. The screening room was packed and I’d say was roughly a 60/40 percentage of Women/Men and everyone was in hysterics through a lot of it.
That’s another reason I like it - and why I think both sexes can enjoy this film - it isn’t what I would call a ‘girly’ film, the lead girl for example is a about as far off a ‘girly girl’ as you can get…Also, there are definitely more funny moments than sad ones - it’s not a soppy film, any sad moments aren’t overdone, exploited and dwelled upon, you are moved along at just the right pace. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments where you might just be biting your lip to stop yourself from crying though….
The writing is terrific, I can only assume (having not read the book) that Nicholls has done a fine job adapting his own book for the screen and if not? Well then he has done a fine job of creating a wonderfully witty, touching, character driven, well paced and well balanced screenplay. I haven’t mentioned too much about Scherfig’s direction because I don’t think I need to, she is the driving force behind bringing all of these elements together and she did a very fine job indeed, the story is magnificently told.
I was wrong to write this film off as a ‘Romance’. It is simply a film about two people’s separate lives, their careers, relationships and how they intertwine - tracking how they have developed (or in some cases how they haven’t) on the same day over 20 years.
If I had to describe it I would only call it a ‘life story’ because that is what it is, there’s romance in there, comedy in there, tragedy in there, action in there, inaction in there - because that is all part of human existence and that is what is communicated so well on screen.
‘One Day’, I am sorry for judging you by your cover, you have taught me a valuable lesson. To make it up to you, I am encouraging anyone who reads this to ignore the relatively poor IMDB rating the film has received so far, ignore even my own thoughts and to make up your own minds up, go and see it.