‘One Day’ feels oh-so-much longer

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in "One Day" The relationship between Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) changes over time in “One Day.”

Maybe it was all more resonant, more poignant on the page: the many highs and lows and major life shifts that occur during the decades-spanning friendship/romance between Emma and Dexter in “One Day.”

But here they feel so cursory and rushed, it’s as if we’re watching a filmed version of the CliffsNotes of David Nicholls’ best-seller. Nicholls himself adapted his novel into the screenplay, and the amount of material he tries to cram in suggests he didn’t know how or when to let go of his baby.

It’s a handsome misfire, though, with its tasteful production design and impeccable costumes — all very British. And it’s all the more curious coming from Danish director Lone Scherfig, whose last film was the excellent “An Education” (2009), which was nominated for three Academy Awards including best picture. That film had a piercing insight about it, a startling honesty beneath its glamorous exterior. Nothing of the sort is to be found here.

The central conceit is this: Em (Anne Hathaway) and Dex (Jim Sturgess) meet after a long night of post-college graduation partying on July 15, 1988. She’s self-consciously middle-class, he’s breezily posh. They jump into bed but decide to remain just friends — but we all know where that’s headed.

“One Day” keeps coming back to that one day, year after year, and checks in with them as they date other people, forge careers, share awkward dinners and basically wait around until the eventual July 15 when they’ll be together. (Read more…)

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