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About One Day and the issues of peaking

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Have you peaked yet? Or are you yet waiting for your breakthrough? Are you still hoping for the moment when all the stars will align and the pieces fall into place and you’ll know what you’re doing with your life and why you’re doing it and all your hidden talents will appear out of nowhere and you’ll be loved by everyone you want to be loved by and you’ll be in better shape than you’ve ever been before and ever will be in the future?

Some people peak early in their lives – maybe a little too early for their own good. Being the most popular girl in preschool isn’t much of a merit when it’s time to get a job. Others are late bloomers, which can be tough. If you’re an un-kissed 19 year old with no friends whatsoever, you’re not helped by that you’ll end up as the happiest, most successful 75 year old in the world.

You never know when you’ll peak. All you can do is to pray silently that you haven’t and that life will get better. It’s only when you’re going to class reunions when the truth comes out and you comparing yourself to the others will see painfully – or delightfully, depending on where you are on your peaking curve – obvious who peaked early and who’s peaking now.

A mismatch in peaking curve is one of the themes for One Day, where we follow Dexter and Emma from their graduation at university and twenty years forward in time, every chapter taking place the same day, July 15. They could have been a couple, but are kept apart most of the book by different circumstances, of which the peaking is one. While Dexter is having the time of his life hosting a popular TV show, Emma is a miserable waitress at a second rate restaurant. For a while they’re barely on speaking terms but things change and so does their relationship.

Squeezed and rushed
I’ll say right away that I was a fan of the novel. It turned out to be the perfect beach companion on a holiday trip. It was easy enough to read, but not dumb or filled with clichés. Dexter and Emma felt like real, human beings.

But sadly enough I’m not sure I can say the same thing about the film version of them. There’s isn’t as much space for them to develop and because they want to stick to the format, not skipping over a single year, you can’t get away from that it feels squeezed and rushed in comparison. I know you shouldn’t compare adaptations to the books they’re based on, but in this case it’s quite natural since it’s following the book so closely. The screenplay is even written by the author of it, which might not have helped. I suppose it’s easier to kill other people’s darlings than your own?

As of the casting, I’ve heard complaints over Anne Hathaway and her efforts to speak with a British accent while being an American. Well, I’m not good enough at recognizing English accents so I didn’t notice and if I had noticed I wouldn’t have cared. I had other issues with her. She’s just a little bit too pretty for being Emma. You can’t hide that she’s a beautiful film star by merely putting on a couple of big, ugly glasses. Jim Sturgess on the other hand is a good match for the role as Dexter. I have no complaints there.

Had hoped for better
I admit that I had hoped for something better. I always hope for movies to be good of course, but maybe a little more when it’s a female director. The women are so few and far between in the film industry and I want the ones there are to succeed and inspire the upcoming generation. Besides I really loved Lone Scherfig’s last film, An Education.

But who knows? Maybe she just hasn’t reached her peaking point yet? That’s what I comfort myself with when I look at my lack of success in life.

The best has yet to come.

One Day (Lone Scherfig, UK, 2011) My rating: 3/5

Written by Jessica

March 28, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in One Day, Uncategorized