Tag Archives: Jim Sturgess

Movie vs. Book: One Day

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.

Get One Day on your Kindle for just $9.99.

Or get it in paperback with movie tie-in for $10.17.

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Review: One Day

Recap: All it takes is one day to fall in love. And so begins the story of Dex and Em, Em and Dex, as they so coyly refer to themselves. Emma Morley is a self-conscious, brilliant beauty who’s not sure quite what she wants out of life. Dexter Mayhew is a lost puppy himself, but he’s got all the charm, looks, confidence, and sex drive of an 18-year-old frat boy.

The story begins when the two of them fall into bed together just after graduating from college in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s July 15, 1988. The book follows their rocky relationship over the next 20 years, each chapter marking where they are on July 15th of a particular year.

It takes us through Em’s loveless relationships, Dex’s rise to and fall from fame, Em’s struggle to start a career in writing, Dex’s alcoholism, Em’s affair, and Dex’s divorce. Fate and their disdain for loneliness is what keeps them coming back to each other.

Analysis: The rollercoaster ride of Em and Dex’s relationship made me feel up and down about this book overall. Initially, I couldn’t put it down. The flirtation, romance, and awkwardness between the two of them was relatable and funny. Despite their glaring flaws, these two characters maintained likeability.

But as the story progressed and they both had moments in which their lives spiraled out of control, I found myself hating them more and more. I had to force myself to read in the hopes they would get together. It was like watching the movie Serendipity 10 times in a row.

In the third act, it picks back up, and I fell back in love with the characters. But there’s the ending. A shocking, depressing, and very unnecessary one (for those who haven’t spoiled it for themselves like I did). It simply forced drama in an already dramatic relationship. The very last chapter was well done — sentimental, romantic, and beautiful. But the fact that I was able to imagine the story done differently and still have the same poetic last chapter is not a good sign.

However, bonus points for the cool formatting of the story. To follow them on the same day every year was a new way of storytelling I had not yet experienced.

MVP: Emma Morley. As unlikable as she is at parts, she’s real. She’s beautiful, but sleeps with all the wrong men. She’s brilliant, but can’t find work. She’s awkward and cynical and downright British. And as she continues to explore her relationship with Dexter, overanalyzing it and both hating and loving it simultaneously, we realize we’ve all been Emma Morley at one time or another.

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