Facts and Figures
Run time: 107 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th August 2011
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 51 Rotten: 89
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
One Day Review
On St Swithin's Day, 15th July, in 1988, Emma (Hathaway) meets Dexter (Sturgess). Both are university students in Edinburgh, and there's a clear spark between them, but circumstances prevent them from becoming a couple. The years pass. Dexter moves from being an annoying TV host to a chef and has a daughter with Sylvie (Garai). Meanwhile, Emma has a career as a teacher and maintains an unsatisfying relationship with Ian (Spall). And they keep running into each other along the way, wondering what might have happened - and may yet happen - if they got together.
It's clear from the start where this is going, so the plot's final act shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the genre. At least adept director Sherfig resists the temptation to milk the sentiment like a Hollywood filmmaker might do. And she also keeps the central characters grounded in a sense of realism, even as the plot seems to skim the surface as it covers such a long timeframe.
Hathaway and Sturgess are engaging and likable, as always. And even if their accents roam the length and breadth of the UK, there's a realistic sense of the period in both Edinburgh and London over the years, thanks to subdued costumes and settings plus a lot of great music. And side characters add their own layers of interest, from the scruffy-smiley Spall to the icy Garai, while the always-terrific Clarkson and Stott add texture to their roles as Dexter's parents.
Meanwhile, the relaxed and off-handed pace almost wins us over as we move through the decades. But a frustrating coyness takes over whenever sex, drugs or serious themes (like childlessness) threaten to appear, which leaves the film feeling like a cute, sweet pre-teen movie when it really ought to be passionate and intense. There are strongly dramatic and witty moments along the way, but not nearly enough to let post-pubescent filmgoers engage with the story in a meaningful way.