Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Becoming Jane, The Princess Diaries) stars as Emma, who straight from university, befriends Dex, played by Jim Sturgess (The Other Boleyn Girl). The film then charts their respective lives and friendship over the years.
It all feels rather aimless and random. Some might say that echoes real life, but at the same time this is a film that uses any number of tired clichés for emotional impact. There are really only four characters of consequence, two male, two female. Both male characters are shown to be fairly pathetic throughout most of the film. One is a typical 'geeky nerd' character, who is clearly played as the 'sad loser', and comes out with all the worst clichés that non-genre writers think define science fiction and fantasy fans. Meanwhile the male lead, Dex, is a drug addled, reprehensible, womanising drunk. On the flip side, there is Dex's mother, shown to be strong yet tragic, the emotional role model for her son. Finally we have Emma herself, the sturdy shoulder for the weak male to lean on, the one constant in his life. Strong enough to resist him until he's sorted himself out, but always there as another emotional crutch.
It's difficult to judge Jim Sturgess as Dex. The character is mostly unsympathetic, and by the time he supposedly redeems himself, you really don't care what happens to him. As such, Sturgess has either succeeded at playing the character as written, or failed to make him sympathetic when he should be. If the latter, it would still be difficult to blame him, given the material. Unfortunately there was nothing that stood out about his performance, unless you count acting drunk and/or drugged-up occasionally.
I can't honestly recommend 'One Day'. It's not a bad film as such. It keeps you watching, though much of that is down to Anne Hathaway's likeable portrayal of the potentially weak character of Emma. The romantic elements of the story, such as they are, keep things vaguely interesting in the latter third or quarter of the film, but there is little else to grab your attention alongside the lacklustre ending.
Fans of the book may enjoy the film, as they might see more within the scenes than other viewers. As for the rest, as you walk out of the cinema doors or switch off your TV, I think you'll find yourself shrugging forgettably. What score I have given it, is mainly for Hathaway's performance.
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