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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rath's Reviews: One Day

So...clearly this is not a review of an action movie, superhero movie, or a comedy. In fact this is the first romantic movie that I have gone to see in theaters, or at least to my memory it is. Im no expert in this genre, but having been called "The Dr. Phil of Our Generation" on several occasions, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on love, what it is, and how it affects people.

For me, it is hard to grade One Day. It seems like it had the potential to be a classic love story. Based off a well-known romance novel that women have cried gallons of tears over? Check. Two attractive leads with surprisingly good chemistry? Check. An interesting premise where the characters interact with each other every July 15th for 20 years straight? Check. But somehow, it just doesnt all come together and make you really feel for Emma (Anne Hathaway sporting a ridiculous amount of different haircuts) and Dex (Jim Sturgess who honestly I had never heard of before this movie, but does really well here).

To start off, the movie is very cute. It has witty dialogue and was far funnier than I thought it would be. I have to give the writers credit here because truly, their script makes the movie better than it should have been. Also, I dont really know why, but I love the fact that it doesnt take place in the U.S. It takes place in Europe, mainly London, and it felt like that added a bit of credibility to the movie as far as maturity is concerned. The two leads also share a good chemistry, which earlier I commented on it being surprising. To me, it was surprising because frankly, I would have never matched these two actors together out of a crowd...by appearance they just dont gel. But thanks to the script and acting prowess of Hathaway and Sturgess, the relationship is pulled off really well.

Sturgess and Hathaway

Tears = chemistry!
But where the movie excels in chemistry, script, and location, it falters largely in pacing. Based on a book where the characters meet, and suffer through life's little complexities that seem to keep them apart forever, the movie just cant seem to cram it all in at once. Some side characters get hardly any development, and I found myself questioning what happened in the last year as the movie transitioned into the next year. For example, at one point, Dex is suddenly a large media mogul in London, hosting his own TV show, and the audience is left to assume that this transition happened all within the last year. And specifically, the year 2002 is left out of the movie, which, once you watch the movie, you come to find it is extremely important to the story line. In other words, the movie should have been another hour longer in order to incorporate everything, but another hour also would not have been kind to audiences, so it gets stuck somewhere in the middle.

Not the actual lines:
"I've loved you for 20 years"
"I know, sorry, but I was on the toilet."


Additionally, the movie is remarkably predictable, and keep in mind I have hardly seen any of these types of movies. Without giving anything away, I saw the "Oh My God" moment coming from a mile away, and the rest of the movie followed the typical romance pattern. In fact, it was almost a bit annoying because these characters are clearly in love, but stay "just friends" for such a long time. By the time they finally come around to each other, I kind of didnt care because Im not so sure that would happen in real life. I feel like in real life, they would have made it work a long time ago, or forgotten about each other by now and moved on.

Overall, the movie is hard to place in one category. It is a cute date movie for most of it, but quickly turns dark near the end, making for a not-so-great date movie. It is funny but it isnt a comedy, and the romance is there, it just takes forever to come to fruition. If you are a romance movie enthusiast and you cry at the slightest hiccup in these types of movies, then go see it, you will love it. If you are like me, where you have only been emotionally affected by a small number of movies in your life (damn you Titanic!), this movie will come across as amazingly average to you.

I would really like to see Hollywood produce a romance film that is not cliche and that I am completely gripped by the relationship from beginning to end. One Day I suppose...One Day.

Pros:

  • Witty and funny writing keeps the audience involved in the characters
  • Good chemistry between Hathaway and Sturgess
  • European setting seems "fresh"
  • The darker tone underlying the movie adds some emotion to the character's lives
Cons:
  • Pacing is erratic, characters evolve without us knowing, and years are skipped
  • Cliche...cliche...cliche, especially the "Oh My God" moment. I mean really? How many times have we seen that?
  • Other interesting characters are put on the backburner for the sake of time
  • I dont understand the format of the ending. It includes flashbacks that are pieced together oddly with the present
  • Predictable from beginning to end
  • The little girl at the end is strikingly rude to her father...I would have grounded her

Rath's Review Score: 5.5/10

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