One Day | Film review
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess play a 20-year game of will they, won’t they.
It seems Lone Scherfig has found her calling: bringing unremarkable literary love stories to the screen. Her Oscar-nominated An Education, based on a magazine memoir, made much ado about a thoroughly ordinary (if vaguely creepy) older-younger romance. Now comes One Day, which ticks off 20 years in the very average lives of two close friends, Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess), who almost hook up the night of their college graduation and then spend the next two decades denying their feelings for each other. The film’s plot, lifted from the David Nicholls novel of the same name but also reminiscent of the 1978 Robert Mulligan film Same Time, Next Year, returns to these would-be soul mates every 12 months, always on July 15.
Sporting a new ’do for each summer, Hathaway makes the most of this temporal gimmick, gradually and convincingly morphing from awkward coed to confident middle-aged woman. One Day’s fatal mistake is shifting its central focus, very early on, to her smarmy costar. The poor man’s James McAvoy, Sturgess undergoes a transformation that might best be described as cad to sad. Scherfig, meanwhile, is so busy switching the hairstyles and wardrobes she can’t be bothered to double-check something as simple as, say, the year Jurassic Park opened in the U.K. If you’re going to dress up a banal romance with wink-wink period details, at least make sure you get your dates right.