This is one of those films that I feel would be a good book, but do not work quite as well as a film. That’s not to say that I dislike this film, it’s more that I’m not entirely sure what I do think about it. One of those “you have to watch them twice” films, I suppose, but what I got from One Day the first time was that it is a film that moves rather slowly, but right when you start to really realize this fact, the last twenty or thirty minutes swoop in with a couple twists, the first of which was shocking enough to cause my eyes to fly open as wide as they could. The question is, does a good ending make up for an otherwise averagely-paced film?
Visually, the film is very nice. The movie starts off in the UK a couple hours before sunrise. There is a beautiful, blue light tinting the air as Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) walk through the lovely city with two of their fellow friends and college graduates. The shots of the city leading up to this moment are stunning and magical in a way that only Europe is capable of bestowing. Unfortunately, many of the beautiful views are obstructed by the opening credits, which are five times bigger than they should be (it’s just a little nit-picky thing, but it’s kinda hard to not notice). Another of these is that a couple of the shots could have been framed differently or focused on for a couple more seconds in order to better convey the gravity of the scene, such as the moment where (spoilers!) we find out that Dexter’s wife is cheating on him through the fact that we see a man wearing only a towel walking around in the background, but I digress. There are many, many beautiful shots in the film and almost all of the locations are pleasant and interesting to look at.
On the matter of pacing again, perhaps it is how the film is moved along by the idea that we see these two characters only once every July 15th of every year. Since we are not able to see all the events of the other 364 days of the year, though they are eluded to, it makes for a slightly lacking feel. The acting, on the other hand, is quite good and the actors are able to deliver their lines, even when the script is not the best, emotively and believably. The chemistry between Hathaway and Sturgess is true and the tension and restraint is tangible. The aspect about this film that got me the most is still the ending though. Without giving too much away, I will say that the movies that pull the “second chance” angle always touch something deep inside of me and win me over…also I am a victim of growing up on Disney films and therefor am forever a total and complete sucker for love.
One Day runs 107 minutes and is rated PG-13.