Review of One Day

One Day (2011)
A growing older movie
14 September 2011
One Day Two eighties graduates in Edinburgh have an encounter on graduation day, July 15th ; the film follows their relationship by annual updates. Dexter (Jim Sturgess) brilliant, charismatic and a total narcissist and Emma (Ann Hathaway), a demure, warm sort are not a great match and both hitch up with others, but their friendship endures.

The film is romantic, but only to a point, and can hardly be described as a comedy; there is too much pain for that, despite some funny dialogue. It is a kind of growing older movie – early promise turning sour, bright young ambitious things tasting failure and settling for something less. The story is cleverly told and nicely shot, with good support from Ken Stott and Patricia Clarkson as Dexter's disapproving parents and Rhys Spall as Emma's husband. Jim Sturgess looks and acts uncannily like a younger Rupert Graves, who has portrayed a long line of charming handsome wastrels. Ann Hathaway might be from New York but she plays Emma perfectly – the dialect coaches really earned their money. Both of the principals manage to evoke our sympathy, though Sturgess has the harder job.

July 15 is St Swithin's day. On that day in 1415 the English Army led by Henry V (alias Laurence Olivier or Kenneth Branagh) defeated a larger French force at Agincourt. This has absolutely nothing to do with the movie though Dexter and Emma do at one stage venture to Brittany, where they manage to lose their clothes in one of the film's more comedic moments.

I couldn't help feeling the story arc was rather predictable but I was absorbed nonetheless. At the end I'm not sure what the attraction was for Emma – she was smart enough to realise Dexter was a jerk but somehow she couldn't resist. He does get better – perhaps deep down she wanted to reform him. Or perhaps deep down she wanted to be a bit wild too. A film for generation Xers who are wondering what the hell happened to their youthful dreams and plans.
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