I'm totally unfamiliar with the book that "One Day" is based on, but I am aware enough of it to know that it was a phenomenon when it was published, selling about a bazillion copies.
Lone Scherfig, whose last film "An Education" was so good, is the director in charge of bringing this bestseller to the bigscreen, and based on the trailer for the film, it's going to be a very glossy mainstream movie about 20 years in the lives of these two characters played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, a romantic drama that takes two decades to play out.
It's not a new idea, certainly. The most popular film I can name that follows a similar shape is "When Harry Met Sally," although that film plays it firmly for laughs. I remember seeing "Same Time Next Year" as a kid and understanding right away that this sort of dramatic structure gives you an opportunity to compress a lifetime of experience into two hours.
I find Hathaway to be one of the more engaging actors of her general age range. She seems willing to throw vanity out the window for her work, and that's uncommon for actors in general. She's a beautiful young woman, but what stands out in her work is the emotional fragility she projects, which is so at odds with how substantial she is physically. She doesn't look like the sort of person who would break, but when she plays those moments, it can be wrenching.
Jim Sturgess has been looking for the role that will make the whole world love him as much as Amy Pascal does, and this will certainly give him a chance to play a broad range of emotions over the course of one movie.
Fans of the novel should be happy to see that David Nicholls, who wrote the book, is also the writer of the film. Like "The Help," it looks like the author has stayed involved all the way through the production of the film, and that's good news. Even if I don't like this picture, I'm glad to see that studios trust the creators of these sensations to help move the story from one media to the other. It's hard to believe how often that's not the case, and it seems like good common sense.
Will this be more than a surface-level romantic drama that plays out in familiar pattern? We won't know until "One Day" is released on August 19, 2011.