Wednesday, 31 August 2011

One Day: not as good as the book

Fact: they removed Emma's glasses from the marketing materials. Fascists.

It seems a given these days that directors will struggle to make worthy adaptations of well-loved books on the big screen (unless your name is Peter Jackson, of course). Sometimes this due to the miscasting of lead characters, or re-writes of the screenplay, but in One Day's case it is down to the format of the book itself. Having a chapter devoted to each passing year of a 20 year story works great on the page, but just feels rushed on screen.

There are other missteps as well. Hathaway is miscast (although she tries valiantly to make it work) and key plot points are missing. But these are nitpicking in comparison to the scene by scene, year by year structure of the film. Whilst the book could use throwaway lines to subtly hint the future of our 2 protagonists, the film has to use every single line of dialogue as a means to drive the plot forward. This is due to the time restrictions of the film -107 mins (and to be fair, if it were any longer, I probably would have tried to choke myself with my own popcorn).

This means the complexities of the book (loneliness, infidelity, love) are boiled down to simplistic issues that can be found in most so-so rom-coms. Even the characters become cartoonish caricatures of themselves in order to keep up with the breakneck pace of the movie.

However, Lone Scherfig (An Education) does inject some genuine affection into the film, and Jim Sturgess makes for a good Dexter. So whilst it's not a complete disaster, the fantastic source material has been slightly wasted on an average film adaptation. Fingers crossed Richard Linklater will remake it into a HBO series.


  1. Great review! :D I went to see the film yesterday and I really thought it was at least 3 hours long when I left the screening. I did secretly chuckle at Anne Hathaway's accent, but I got used to it after a while. (;

  2. Cheers Lili. Ha, yeah, the accent was causing a few giggles in the cinema I was in. At least she's super pretty!

  3. Haha, she is indeed ;D I can't wait to see her in The Dark Knight Rises! :)