Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway play friends who meet on July 15, 1988 and play romantic cat and mouse for almost the next 20 years. They spend most of their lives trying not to fall in love until one day, July 15th, no less, they take the leap.
Richard: Mark, 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. I think the year-by-year format—we drop in on Jim and Anne every July 15 for 20 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.
MB: Finally, a movie that asks the question: What happens when an insufferable prig meets an egomaniacal twit? The answer is: very little, at least until 15 years has passed. In the Seventies, there was a film and play called Same Time Next Year which used a similar gimmick. In that film, a couple meet every year at the same time for a sexy romp, and slowly fall in love. In this movie, the couple start off with a romantic friendship, and then consummate the relationship after many years. And there, Richard, is the indisputable evidence of why the Seventies was a much better time than the present day.
RC: Ha! I’ll give you that this might have been a very different story had it been set in 1974, but I thought the decades-long dance they 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.
MB: Spark? What spark? I could barely see what they saw in each other. He’s a jerk, at least until half the movie’s over, and she’s a puritan with bad taste in eyewear. And her accent is as fake as the rest of this sentimental travelogue through time. The movie did make London look very appealing, though, so I kept wishing that a neutron bomb would go off, wiping the cast from the screen and leaving all the gorgeous architecture intact.
RC: I clearly liked this more than you. I thought 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.
MB: Usually, I’d love to be in Anne Hathaway’s hands. But not this time. And she wore the same T-shirt in bed in 1988 as she did in 1992. Did she ever wash that thing? Ewwww!