[Rating: 2.5]

Director: Lone Scherfig

Cast & Crew: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Tom Mison, Jodie Whittaker, Tim Key, Rafe Spall , Joséphine de La Baume, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Heida Reed, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, Gil Alma, David Ajala, Georgia King, Ukweli Roach

Synopsis: Twenty years…two people. After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives. Together and apart, we see Dex and Em through their friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. Somewhere along their journey, these two people realize that what they are searching and hoping for has been there for them all along. As the true meaning of that one day back in 1988 is revealed, they come to terms with the nature of love and life itself.

Review: Churning out great screenplay from best sellers is a tough task. Its stake in authenticity is greatly at risk but the effort is commendable. Especially if it serves as a reminder of the average Joe’s celebrated heartache. “One Day” effortlessly highlights the way we direct our affection at people who matter the most but are circumstantially inaccessible. 

What do you do when your best friend does a great job at doubling up as a soul mate, but is far too distorted to comprehend the silent chemistry that palpably keeps brewing over between the two of you over the years? You glide along the passage of time without realizing the inevitability that life brings along with it. “One Day” is a lesson on love but not told poignantly enough. It relies way too much on mushiness and loses grip in narration. This is a classical case of not extracting the best out of a bestseller, though watching it feels like flipping through pages of David Nicholl’s “One Day”. The film tracks the lives of its two protagonists over two decades. July 15th every year is not just another day but an evolution for the better or worse in the lives of two people who are too besotted with each other to lose touch over time. What really hits you hard is the fact that the story effortlessly breaks a myth “out of sight is out of mind” and reaffirms yet another myth “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. It’s a heady blend of distance and distortions that keeps two friends and almost there lovers intertwined for years together.

Emma Morley played by Anne Hathaway & Dexter Mayhew played by Jim Sturgess  are inseparable through a span of 20 years right from the first day they met, post their graduation ceremony. They are opposites in the head but equals in distinctly stating who they are, with unabashed enthusiasm. While Emma is rigid when it comes to pushing boundaries, Dexter lives like the world was his customized playground. Both seem like extremes, one enlightening the other. One disapproves of the way the other functions but both are strung together by a chord of fondness and the ability to be a hundred percent solely with each other.  A bittersweet fling on graduation night for both evolves into a rock solid friendship. What’s sad is that both are living half-heartedly and swallowing too much in their pride to really wake up and smell the coffee. Their coming together is way too delayed. Hopelessly addicted to each other and hounded by hesitancy.  Both update each other on their aspirations, dating diary and financial records but somehow fail to seize the opportunity to express their love for each other. Their pretense at ignoring their love for each other for way too long robs the film off its charm. A classical case of too many missed opportunities. Moreover the tragic end which I will not reveal  is where the film should have perhaps ended to retain the message it was seeking to convey all along. Love delayed is life robbed of its spirit. The film almost establishes this and then meaninglessly drags on. 
Emma leaves an indelible mark in her understated intelligence and class. She is the gorgeous geek people initially shun but eventually hunger for. Jim Sturgess too impresses with the way he portrays the bashfulness of Dexter. Dexter’s arrogance stems largely from his ignorance and not his lineage. He makes you laugh and cry with abandon. Director Lone Scherfig succeeds in tugging at your heart strings but fails in adding momentum to the tugging. Somehow books are always more promising on hard bound paper rather than celluloid. If you are not an avid reader, you may want to watch it merely for its endearing and devastating slice of life story. It’s not a great watch but in fact cinema great at miming the tales of our lives.

Verdict: Recreating a best seller on celluloid can be tricky. Watch if slice of life cinema is your bet.
Pashmina Narang

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