Star rating – 7/10
It’s really always going to be a hiding to nothing to try to dramatise such a popular book as David Nicholls’ ‘One Day’. The book was great, a very simple yet original idea about taking one specific day (or date to be more precise, namely St Swithin’s Day – 15th July) and telling the story of a relationship through the interactions that take place over the years on this day only.
It worked so well in print, as the graduation fumble of Emma and Dexter developed into a true and lasting friendship and then realisation that they were really soul mates all along. This is despite Dexter being a total prat and both of them finding other people to be partners with, when really all they wanted was each other. It sounds a bit naff, but in the book Nicholls makes it work beautifully and skilfully.
Casting American Hollywood ‘A’ lister Anne Hathaway as plain Yorkshire lass Emma was always going to be a difficult call. And her accent is not flawless, it has to be said; and of course she is impossibly beautiful. But she does win you over as Emma, who is true and sensible and principled, in her round glasses and Doc Marten boots. Jim Sturgess is perfect as Dexter, who is a good person, but just has to work through mountains of cocaine and countless women before he realises that he needs another good person like Emma to make him whole. And they do have great chemistry on screen, which makes the story work.
But the ageing process, which is so easy to do in a book, is a little more tricky on screen, and here it feels very phoney. The film also looses something of the basic theme of the ‘one day’ principle. It is a decent job of a great book. Some things are maybe just better left on the page then being transferred to celluloid. But having said all that, it is still a very enjoyable film. And, minor point though it may be, I was so disappointed that the classic Billy Bragg song ‘St Swithin’s Day' was not used - what a missed opportunity!