In 1988 Emma and Dexter (Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) spend a magnificent night and day together on the fifteenth of July. This date becomes their hallmark as countless critical moments in their lives seem to fall on that date every year. During the first several years of their "friendship", Dexter is busy philandering with as many women as time and hormones will permit. He has a flare for the ladies and they requite his advances because he is a famous television personality. Each year on the fifteenth Dexter attempts to lure Emma into his bedroom for a romp to remember. Little does he realize, or perhaps he deliberately ignores, her affinity for all things him. Emma is forever driven to him and in love with the man she met in 1988. Regrettably, even according to his parents, Dexter changes into a bitter alcoholic as his career begins waning. He treats Emma and his parents like disposable friends to be used should the moment call for it. When his mother (Patricia Clarkson as Alison) is diagnosed with cancer he falls apart at the seams. Dexter is chronically driven into Emma's arms but seeing as he has missed many opportunities to woo her, her concentration is elsewhere.
Throughout their often mutually exclusive struggles, Emma seeks out comfort in the arms of Ian (Rafe Spall), a flailing comedian. There is nothing funny about that! It is apparent that Ian is jealous of Dexter, but fortunately for his libido, Dexter is at all times sexually involved with women of questionable moral character. This licentiousness prohibits Emma from sexually harmonizing with her best friend.
As the years pass, Dexter's career collapses as do his mood and his chances for securing happiness. Meanwhile, Emma becomes both a teacher and a published author as she has always dreamed. Dexter seeks solace in the bottle and cocaine while Emma spends her time with Ian though she fantasizes about her best friend always and forever. Just when it seems they are finally on the verge of giving in to the ultimate aphrodisiac (understanding and friendship), Dexter knocks up his girlfriend. He delivers the bad news to Emma with a warm French kiss, which, pardon my French, is fucked up. A considerable amount of the nuances of One Day are chaotic and nauseating.
When I wrote earlier that " director Lone Scherfig crams potent emotions down the audience's throats," there is no better example than the set up for the tear-jerking conclusion to Dexter and Emma's relationship. First of all, we come to find out they had already slept together despite the entire movie having built up to that moment. It didn't even happen on screen and it fell on a date prior to July 15. This represents a giant tease and a true rip-off. It took all of the steam out of the audience's anticipation. Practically moments after they are united as a couple, tragedy strikes. Not just any tragedy but a gruesome massacre that didn't have to occur and for the most part ruined the entire film that was already on shaky ground at best. I understand the author (David Nicholls) wrote the story in this fashion but the director could have made subtle shifts to prevent the movie from being a giant disaster and a hackneyed cliché. It is like waiting all year for Halloween and finding out a hurricane has caused the cancelation of the holiday. The costumes were ready, the decorations made, the group is conglomerated, and then boom, lights out.
One Day riled me up and then dashed my emotions to the wall. It made me apathetic, tearful, excited, happy and disgusted in close proximity of one another. I am honestly not sure what the point of the story is except to make people cry. Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway are fantastic but the story is given to ruin without exception. Much has been deliberately omitted so as not to spoil the film, because the author and director have already achieved that for you without my intervention. 4/10, for there are scintillating moments, all on account of the acting, but they are followed by reproachful scenes in short order. Oh well, not every romance film is destined to be The Notebook or Titanic.
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