Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 123 - One Day

One Day (2011) directed by Lone Scherfig

One Day refers to the day that Emma and Dexter first meet each other, July 15th, 1988, and each subsequent July 15th afterwords, chronicling their on and off again friendship spanning to the present day. We check up on them every year on this date to see what they've been up to, how much they've grown or, in other cases, regressed. In this way we miss a lot of the important moments of their lives, like various relationships, the death of a parent, career moves and the like. The one constant in their lives is each other no matter where they are or how much they grow apart; they are always on each other's mind. We only catch brief snapshots but those are enough to fill us in. It is a pretty clever narrative device that allows us to fit twenty years in less than two hours. The joy, and perhaps the pain, in watching the film is in waiting for the two best friends to realize they were meant for each other all along, to allow themselves to finally give in to their true feelings.

Emma (Anne Hathaway) is a woman who struggles throughout the beginning of the film, aspiring to become a writer but ending up working at a Mexican restaurant for a couple years, often calling Dexter for support. She eventually becomes the woman she aspires to be and finds her way. Dexter (Jim Sturgess) is an upper class brat who lives the good life, brimming with confidence and charm. But beneath that exterior is a deeply wounded soul that desperately needs Emma for support. He works as the host of a shallow late night TV show that is akin to a trained monkey doing tricks. He is rich and famous, but miserable. As the years go by, their lives go in opposite directions and we begin to wonder how they will ever get together.

The story basically boils down to the good hearted woman saving the troubled man. Whenever this plot line comes up, this question must always be asked, "Is this man worthy of her love?" It is tricky because the troubled man is going to be portrayed as a bad guy who, as it turns out, probably isn't deserving to be loved, but the woman inevitably sees the good in him even when the audience can't. This has rubbed me in the wrong way before in movies, but to my surprise I wasn't really thinking about it while watching it, but now that I have had time to think about it, Dexter actually fails the test throughout much of the movie. This fact is forgotten by the end when we do realize he is a good man, what Emma sees all along.

The majority of the movie has a somber tone. The two characters spend most of the time ever contemplative of their places in life and love and apart from each other. But it is also potentially uplifting, the idea of two best friends being together. That they have been such important parts in each other's lives for over fifteen years makes you believe that this is the type of relationship sure to last rather than the one week romances found in so many other films.

The film has an obvious direction and even unexpected events can be expected; it's just that kind of movie. I did like the way the film passes time as it does a good job in capturing them at various points of their lives and draws out the feelings they have for each other. I thought it was a touching and (for the most part) believable story, something I have trouble saying with many romantic dramas.

Grade: B

Note: There is a scene in the film where Dexter's wife calls him right before she's about to have sex with her lover. I know since we are only allowed to see one day this is the best way to let us know she is having an affair, but in the context of the scene it seems awful. Why would you call the person you're cheating on right before you're going to cheat on them unless you're being super spiteful? Wouldn't it just kill the mood? What does her lover think of this phone call to her husband, or is foreplay to turn them on?

Note: Looking at, One Day is sitting at 27%. LOL, this just goes to show I have horrible taste or more likely have no idea what I'm talking about.

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