One Day – Book & Movie Review! (Two for one special!)

Posted on August 20, 2011. Filed under: Books, Movies, Personal Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

In anticipation of this movie coming out I quickly ordered the book of the same name. Lucky for me it arrived the day I finished a book so I was ready, and eager, to jump in upon opening that smiling Amazon box. After tearing through the book I only had to wait a few short weeks for the movie to come out, and last night my date with the husband was a trip to see this movie. Now that I’ve seen and read both the book and movie I am eager to report how much I love this overall story.

One Day by David Nicholls is a brilliant concept! In short, it is the story of Emma and Dex  that spans 20 years. What makes it so different and consuming is that we only get to check into Emma and Dex’s lives once a year – July 15th. Each July 15th we check in with our characters to see what has changed, what is new, and what may be in the imminent future. As a novel it truly keeps the reader on their toes because you have to use your context clues to really put the pieces together and figure out what has happened since the last year you heard from them.

This kept the reading at a fast clip for me because I wanted to know. The characters talked in the story with tomorrow being only a day away so there were many times when I was dying to see what took place on July 16th, but alas I had to wait until the next year, or years, to put the pieces together. I could see how this would be frustrating to some readers but it truly kept my interest.

The story is lovely. Both characters have good and bad things about them, and I would say their worst qualities both fall on the confidence spectrum. Dex is overconfident, overcool and very image driven. Emma is lacking confidence and that makes her stay in a safety net that you are dying to cut on her behalf. Throughout the book I could picture Anne Hathaway playing Emma, it was a very easy character to imagine based on some of Anne Hathaway’s previous roles. Dex was easy to imagine as well simply because of his priorities – we knew which labels of clothing he wore, how he looked, which women he was with and so on. What makes the story so beautiful is the way that we are able to actually watch these characters grow through triumphs and struggles and as different as they become it is clear that their focus is still with the other person. They never fully lose sight of their relationship with the other person, even if it hurts at times. It truly is a beautiful story.

As for a movie adaptation, again what a wonderful concept! The movie succeeded in making it very clear what year it was and the progression of time. The characters aged beautifully and realistically, we could see them gaining a year or two since our last sighting, which was nice since many movies seem to miss the mark on realistic age progression. The acting was exceptional as well. Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway really showed a large range of emotion and did it in a believable fashion. They also had wonderful on screen chemistry. They truly made the story feel real, and drew you in, they become friends to the viewers by the closing credits. It is a worthwhile movie to see overall, if I hadn’t read the book and had just watched the movie I think I would have really really enjoyed it, reading the book was not critical when watching this movie at all.

Overall, I feel that this story worked better as a book than as a movie. Since we are only checking in once a year the story is in the details. What was mentioned in passing, what has changed, what you anticipated changing, what is different? In an hour and a half movie those details would really bog you down. I know the author was involved with the screenplay which definitely helped keep the credibility of the story but I do feel that many sacrifices were made for this adaptation to work and I did miss the details. There were some very serious character flaws that I was hoping to see played out, especially since I felt they were pivotal to the beauty in the story, but they didn’t make the cut and were missed to an ‘insider’ who knows the full story. I would highly recommend the book, it is a must read!! As for the movie, I still really enjoyed it and may even see it a second time, but as a comparison to the book, it didn’t land as high on my adaptation movie list as I had hoped, but still a great movie!

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