"Based on the best selling novel"... words that can either strike fear into the heart or make it do cart wheels to the reader of them and a fan of the original source.
2 years ago, author Nicholls' One Day started to appear on shelves and laps of ladies everywhere (and secretly men as well.) The tale of "Twenty years. Two people" is brought to the screen by "Two people" that should equate to an experience that should last for over "Twenty years" - director Scherfig who delivered An Education, and the author himself writing the screenplay.
Unlike Hornby's High Fidelity, the action is kept in the original locale - Edinburgh and France coming off as beautiful locations to match the friends high points, whilst London as the people-swallowing city, appears somewhat grubby and rain-soaked to match their individual downward spirals.
Their is a problem though with the narrative structure though. By keeping the year-jumping style of the novel, the relationship between the characters never fully grabs hold of the heart strings as at times you feel that you've come in half way through the film and missed something. For a film that is all about the two of them getting together, the fact that their "consummation' is mentioned in what feels like a throw-away line of dialogue and not seen upon the screen, feels like you've been cheated somehow. For you to invest in their future together, you need to see them together, and here that feels slightly disjointed with the jump-in/jump-out yearly focus. The themed of friends becoming more will always be held up to the pinnacle that is When Harry Met Sally and here there is still no moving it from the top spot.
Hathaway is the light and soul of the film, keeping it grounded and believable as the slightly shy, love weary girl whose crush on a boy never really goes away but it's her object of desire that causes the uncertainty during the time frame. Sturgess' has the unenviable job of playing the role of someone who, as one of her ex's describes him as "not worthy" of Hathaway's affections. Everyone loves him but doesn't like him, including his own mother, which does make it hard to root for him and her throughout his drug-fuelled and alcohol-heavy exploits.
Probably more grounded in reality than other romances, this makes One Day feel light on the heart wrenching, love-inspiring moments that other movies have to help them worm their way into the memory of the audience. Apart from a significant scene in the film at the beginning of the third act that turns everything on its head, it doesn't deliver any stand out scenes apart from the little known fact that all great relationships should begin by a river or canal.
Nice and warm, but for a time-based love story you should head to (500) Days Of Summer or the daddy of them all - "I'll have what she's having!"
UK release date: 26.08.11