This beautiful afternoon which I spent indoors, at the movies, seeing ONE DAY–was one day well-spent. Though flawed,the film based on the best-seller stars a charismatic twosome: the multitalented Anne Hathaway who here does a serviceable English accent, and the already English and mightily talented Jim Sturgess (ACROSS THE UNIVERSE). ONE DAY calls on them to age over the course of some 20 years in a series of “one days.” It’s a little bit “Same time Next Year,” a little bit– well, I won’t give that away.
The last day of college marks the commencement of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew’s relationship. They’re drunk on graduation day, flop into bed with each other and things promptly fall apart. He’s a handsome rich kid who expects life to be a breeze. She’s a gangly girl with a pessimistic streak, but an incisively funny quip for every occasion. Because we know what Hathaway can look like, her attempt at dowdiness barely squeaks by. I overlooked this because she delivers the wisecracks with dry aplomb.
I will venture to say that the trajectory of Emma and Dexter’s relationship is tumultuous and surprising. Her character makes less sense than his– why she’s stalled working in a Mexican restaurant and settles for a boring but well-meaning schlub is hard to comprehend. I also overlooked this. Why? Because it’s always clear her soul mate and ultimate destiny is the charming but lost DEXTER, and I couldn’t wait for them to get together; that pulled me along. While she functions as more of a muse, Dexter is a more fully developed character. The film shows us the ways in which he is lost, the ways he disappoints his family, and the ripple effect on all his relationships. In other words, the movie dares to show in a fairly nuanced way how a basically good guy can behave badly. Sturgess is utterly sympathetic and believeable in the part.