“One Day” is many things. It’s a style parade of hair and clothes from the past two decades and it’s an interesting take on how to tell a story but it’s also a little disconnected. The year-by-year format—we drop in on Jim and Anne every July 15 for twenty years—is the culprit. It begins to feel gimmicky by the early nineties and by the millennium almost feels as though it is playing out in real time.
Also, the decades long dance lead characters Em and Dex do as they pretend not to be in love showed the chemistry between the two. The film has some serious structural flaws but the spark between the two of them forgives many of the film’s sins.
Sturgess brought an easy charm to the character, and his transformation from happy-go-lucky student to lounge lizard TV presenter is effective. Hathaway’s appeal lies in the intelligence she brings to her characters. Here she plays a smarty-pants young woman set adrift in life, someone who is slowly finding the self confidence to be who she really wants to be. In Hathaway’s hands you never doubt that she’ll get there.