Saturday, 10 November 2012

'One Day' Film Review

So, first of all, I haven't ever done a film review before so go easy. 'One Day' is based on the 2009 novel by David Nichols which I very much enjoyed and which follows two friends, Emma (played by Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess), from university until their mid-thirties and how their relationships with each other and those around them change. I read the book pretty much as soon as it came out and loved the richness and warmth of the story and believability of the spark between the characters so when I heard it was being made into a film I was naturally excited. However, this excitement was rather diluted when I heard that Anne Hathaway would be playing the role of Emma, not that I have anything against her as an actress, I loved her in The Devil Wears Prada for example, my bugbear lay in the fact that she was an American actress playing a British character. We have ample British acting talent in this country without having to resort across the pond. Anyway, I eventually got round to watching 'One Day' and the fact that it was only 4 quid in Sainsburys helped so I thought I'd share my thoughts for any one who has read the book or just wants to give the film a whirl.

**********************SPOILER ALERT - DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE PLOT***********************************************************

Firstly, if you're planning on watching it, I implore you to read the book first, you'll know and have a feel for the main characters and I always think it's fun to compare your imagination's interpretation of the characters to the director's. The film starts with Emma and Dexter at university in Edinburgh and the chemistry between the two is apparent from the start, this is something that is done very well by Hathaway and Sturgess. The opening scenes are also very aesthetically pleasing and the filming of Edinburgh reflects it's true beauty. The film quickly launches into shadowing the two main characters, as the film starts on the 15th July, each scene when we see them in the future is also on this day. Observing the changing fashions, music and hairstyles is also one of the most enjoyable parts of the film and these historical observations are done very accurately indeed.

As the film progresses, the characters naturally develop and their relationship with each other becomes ever more fraught. Although Hathaway and Sturgess are very good at honing the chemistry between the two characters, the frustration and anger that Emma feels towards Dexter did seem rather hollow and it seemed Hathaway never quite got to grips with this or Emma's character in general. I interpreted Emma to be a rather plain, uncool character who was slightly out of Dexter's league looks wise but much deeper and mature in terms of personality. The casting of Hathaway didn't really reflect this, for one she seems far too glamorous for the role of Emma which subsequently makes the pairing of her with Ian (Rafe Spall) completely unconvincing. On the other hand, Sturgess seems completely at ease with Dexter's persona and we can totally believe he is an arrogant, cocaine riddled, egoistic TV presenter. He grapples with the various sides of Dexter superbly and I could really feel the character develop, sadly I could not say the same about Hathaway's portrayal of Emma. 

Probably my greatest disappointment with the film was Hathaway's disastrous attempts to conquer the Yorkshire accent. As a Yorkshirewoman myself I admit I am a harsh critic but in comparison with Renee Zellweger's take on Bridget Jones, Hathaway pales in comparison. Hathaway's accent swings from Vera Duckworth's 'ey up lad' to posh RP English to, at some points an almost Texan sounding American! I spotted three American sounded lilts in the first ten minutes. I am not claiming to be an expert on accents and I am sure I would find it hard to do a New Jersey accent for the entirety of a film but that's why I'm not not paid multi-million pound sums to act and she is. Overall her ever changing accent was so distracting I couldn't focus on the plot line and it ruined my enjoyment of the film. 

The support cast, such as Dexter's girlfriend during his hedonistic TV star days and Emma's partner Ian both add humour and enhance Hathaway and Sturgess' performances (which I suppose is the point!). The film is also very good looking, and not just due to Jim Sturgess, Edinburgh looks beautiful at the start of the film and Paris glimmers in the later scenes. The death of Emma did make me cry (a lot) so her acting efforts can't be completely slated, however, the film didn't do justice to the book which I loved so much, the story, at time felt rather rushed and snapshott-y which made it to hard to establish the complex and messy relationship between the two lead characters and to properly get to grips with how their relationship develops over time. I also didn't get a real sense of Emma's frustration with her job and relationship with Ian which seemed such an integral part of the book and agitated the already existing contrast between Dexter and Emma at that stage of her relationship.

On the whole, I'd probably give the film 6/10. Despite Hathaway's weak performance, terrible accent and the dodgy casting decision to cast her as Emma, the story stayed pretty true to the book and Sturgess' performance as Dexter saved the day. If you're bored and fancy some easy viewing then I'd say give it a go but don't go in with high expectations! 

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