A never-ending, romantic daze
Direction: Lone Scherfig
Actors: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess
Adapted from his own 2009 best-selling novel by David Nicholls, this romantic odyssey charts the journey of two British college graduates as they drift in and out of each other's lives.
Sticking fairly closely to the source material, One Day kicks off circa 1988. After spending a night together at the university, an aspiring writer (Hathaway) and a cocky playboy (Sturgess) head off on separate ways.
They do, however, stay in touch on the same day each year for the next two decades. While maintaining a platonic friendship, they both attempt to grapple with emotional highs and lows. She takes up a job in a Mexican restaurant and settles for a stand-up comedian (Rafe Spall) she doesn't really love. Meanwhile, he becomes the host of an obnoxious TV show and stumbles through a string of one-night stands.
As the years slide past, we hope against hope that there will be some decisive chemistry between the will-they-won't-they-be lovers. The sentimentality that suffuses the final reels feels like a ploy to tug on the heartstrings.
Evidently, the film could have done with more insightful direction. Danish helmer Scherif, who grabbed global attention with her An Education (2009), misses out on capturing the complications and consequences of the long-running central relationship. To be fair, the picture showcases photogenic faces, wanders around pleasant London and Paris locations, and evokes the period details with affection.
The redoubtable Anne Hathaway is compelling as ever. Saddled with a somewhat loutish character, Jim Sturgess is at least easy on the eye.
Include One Day on your viewing list, yes, but only if there isn't a better alternative.