A sexless one-night-stand turns into a 20 year relationship of rocky romance in this decent novel and worse movie. One Day tells the epic, serendipitous love story of Em and Dex, who meet in college on July 15th, 1988. The story takes us through their decades-long relationship of love, fights, vacations, affairs, career struggles, and drug abuse.
The novel is told in a creative way — each chapter marking July 15th from 1988, 1989, 1990, and so forth. This device moves the story along, and gives insight into how much two adults and their friendship can change from year to year. The book does a decent job of building the relationship. Albeit frustrating — after all, it takes years for Dex and Em to finally get together, the book portrays the epic-ness of Em and Dex. Twenty years, after all, is a long time, and in the book, it feels that way.
But the movie is an entirely different story. The movie cuts a few things — namely the affair Em has with a professor — but otherwise it stays close to the story. The real problem is that the movie moves at a rapid speed. Fitting 20 years into a 2-hour movie is difficult, but the story moves so quickly, the characters are never fully developed. Not to mention Anne Hathaway (Em) and Jim Sturgess (Dex) have little to no onscreen chemistry. The importance of the date, July 15th, is also not made clear. The date pops up on the screen at the beginning of each new scene from a new year, but unless you read the book, I don’t think you would have picked up on that.
What was most upsetting is that I felt the exact opposite way about the book as I did about the movie. In the book, I loved the beginning, struggled through the middle, hated the end, but appreciated the last chapter. In the movie, I hated pretty much all of it until the end. The end is the first time real emotion comes across onscreen. It’s the first time throughout the two hours that I actually felt some sort of connection. It was somewhat redeeming, but let’s be honest. To feel no emotional connection until the end of the movie is not a good sign.
Though the book had its issues, I would still recommend it. But the movie can easily be left behind.