Director: Lone Scherfig
Writers: David Nicholls
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Rafe Spall
SYNOPSIS: In One Day, we follow Emma and Dexter as they graduate on July 15th, 1988 from University and spend the night together. On the same date each year, we catch a glimpse of their lives as they grow together and apart.
REVIEW: Lone Scherfig, director of An Education, brings her mastery of subtle characterization and effortless evolving plot lines to the quiet romance of One Day. Using a screenplay by David Nicholls from his book, Scherfig focuses her energy and talents on bringing Emma and Dexter to life - for the same date of the year over a span of years starting from the night of and morning after their graduation from University.
Rich kid Dexter, played by Jim Sturgess of Across the Universe and 21, parties the night away with his University mates after graduation, eager to travel the world on his parents' dime. Along for the night's festivities is Emma, a poetry writing, book wormy girl with dreams of making her impression on the world. After a night spent together, Emma and Dexter decide to remain friends. A year passes and on the same date, July 15th, Emma and Dexter are together again. This time, Dexter is trying to catch a plane out of the country but helps Emma move into a rundown flat. Emma still has innocent high hopes for impressing upon the world and Dexter is anxious to embark across it. Every year passes and a new vignette opens before us, showing Emma, Dexter, and the course of their lives at that moment. Over the years, Dexter thrives as a television host while Emma flounders as a waitress. One pines for the other, knowing that the love will be unrequited. To say any more would be to give too much away.
Lone Scherfig, with her flare for understated realistic characters and gentle natural story development, is the perfect fit for Nicholls story. Anne Hathaway portrays Emma with quiet and sweet resolution and determination. Jim Sturgess embodies the excess that comes with privilege and the heights that one can fall from. The entire cast including Patricia Clarkson as Dexter's mother Alison lend themselves to superb performances and a surprisingly superior story. Every scene resonates with a faint regret or resolution we have all felt once or more in our lives.
A serious drama with lighthearted and tender moments, you will be moved by the heartache both Emma and Dexter in their lives and with each other. A slow, steady story that steadily builds and culminates in a satisfying, bittersweet conclusion, One Day may not be a huge success, but it is a successful film.