Director of An Education tackles David Nicholls' novel
Following An Education, Danish director Lone Scherfig attempts to conjure the same magic on another slice of hit Brit lit – David Nicholls’ One Day. Fans of the book have already been protesting that the casting of Anne Hathaway as heroine Emma Morley, a slightly bookish Yorkshire lass is as wrong as wrong can be.
In fairness, Hathaway offers an honest performance as Emma. There’s even strong chemistry with Jim Sturgess, who plays Dexter, the fellow Edinburgh University student she has an awkward fling with, leading to lifelong friendship, unrequited love and a heart-wrenching outcome.
The film’s problem is dealing with the book’s selling point: that we rejoin Emma and Dexter almost every year across on the anniversary of the July day they first met in 1988. Spanning two decades, it means a blur of music cues and wig changes and a structure that lacks cohesion.
Scherfig does capture the ebb and flow of Emma and Dexter’s relationship. But it comes at the expense of the other characters (in particular their sometime partners, played by Rafe Spall and Romola Garai) who lack depth and dimension. Those not entranced by the book may buy it, but hardcore fans will be disappointed.
General release from Wed 24 Aug.