Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Based on the book by David Nicholls
Faithfulness to the book: 8/10
Movie rating: B
As far as movie adaptions go, One Day was very true to the novel version. There were no major differences, and the only reason it’s not 100% faithful to the book was for nit-picky reasons.
One Day is the story of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew’s friendship. The book is told through a unique perspective, only giving the readers snapshots of these two characters once a year starting from the day they met on July 15, 1988. The movie shows us most of the years, though it feels like every year is an important one. There is not enough character development in the movie to do the characters justice.
A good example would be somewhat near the beginning of the movie. Dexter shows up at his parents house under the influence of drugs and alcohol to visit his sick mother. On an explicit level, we see that Dexter is not a good son. The present he brings for his mother is from Emma, which shows how he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about his dying mother. In the book version, this chapter opens with Dexter partying in a club with strangers. He’s taking drugs and drinking too much, even though he knows he has to drive in the morning. Come morning, hungover and feeling disgusting, he can’t help but to down a little vodka before the drive. I wish this had been shown in the movie because it really opens the viewer’s eyes to the kind of person Dexter is.
There was a lot of drama in the books that wasn’t represented in the movie. Emma’s character isn’t summed up well; she’s passionate about causes and it fails to show her successes. She becomes well off by the time we get to her thirties. Her book gets published but not only that- it gets optioned as a television show and she has sequels to it.
It captures their friendship okay but by the time they end up together, the wait for it doesn’t feel worth it. Maybe because in a movie the time is condensed. The ending is still heartbreaking though. If anything, the movie is worth watching because Hathaway and Sturgess do embody their characters. If you’re looking for a heartbreaking romance this is it. If you prefer reading about it, then do pick up the book and read my review on it!