One Day is
exactly what it says: a single date in the life of two British friends who
may be interested in becoming more. The catch is that it is played out over
a period of over twenty years.
Essentially, the audience visits Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim
Sturgess) every July 15 (St. Swithin’s Day) from college to middle age.
What has happened in their lives before and after these visits is usually
implied, but not always spelled out (though, thoughtfully, many of their
major life changes appear to happen on that very date.) We just get little peeks into
the worlds, growth and maturity of two common people, stumbling through
lifelong friendship towards the potential of true love.
Based on the popular novel by David Nicholls (who also wrote the
screenplay), One Day is a mostly very enjoyable, if perhaps a bit
predictable, romantic comedy. It is similar in structure to the 70s stage
play Same Time, Next Year, which later became a film romantic comedy
with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn – charting a couple’s progress by taking a
snapshot of their lives annually and letting the audience fill in the
blanks. Of course, in this case the structure seems a little more
rudimentary and gimmicky – in that film, they literally only saw each other
once a year, here there is little doubt that these two have interactions on
other days of the year.
Still, the gimmick mostly works very well and despite a melodramatic plot
turn towards the end, One Day is one of the most pleasing romantic
comedies of the year.
the beginning, Emma and Dexter are about to graduate from college, friends
of friends who spend one fantastic day together and are about to hook up for
an evening of probably rather meaningless sex when the fates intervene and
interrupt those plans.
there, the film moves forward to that day from year to year – spanning a
period from 1988 to the present day. We find the two find friendship and
experience much of life before finally being able to find love in each other
in their late 30s. Well, that is a bit of a misnomer. They obviously loved
each other in their own way for years, but they finally synch up to the
point where they can share their lives. (Apologies if that seems like a bit
of a spoiler. The film’s promotion has been quite open about the fact that
they spend years before finally coming together, so it seems like the cat
was already out of the bag.)
it a coincidence that they eventually sort of meet each other in the
middle? She starts out young and poor with a wretched dead end job in a
Mexican restaurant and a boring lover before finding a teaching job that
excites her and gaining a bit of notoriety as a children’s book writer. He
starts out a rich trust fund baby, finds some early fame and fortune as the
host of a cheesy 90s TV chat show before alcohol and a bad marriage bring
him down to earth.
don’t think it is a coincidence. They both had to be at a place in
life to be able to open themselves up to the relationship.
it work out? Well that is a much more complicated question, one that for
spoiler’s sake I can’t and won’t answer.
However, even that is only a part of the story. The love is important to
the two of them, but the friendship is the thing that is vital. Even if
these two never acknowledged their feelings, One Day would be a still
fascinating story. One as endlessly full of pathos and potential as only
two people who grow up together can be.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: August 19, 2011.