One Day Peckham Multiplex 25 August


As everyone knows, the book One Day is for long stretches a repetitious load of drivel:  the story is that common Emma and posh Dexter have a night of passion after graduating from Edinburgh and then spend most of the rest of the book failing to get it together.  I said at the time that it would work better as a film and I was quite right,  even though there was quite a long time at the beginning where it looked like a date movie for lesbians–both to gaze in wonder at Anne Hathaway and to be quite certain they were missing nothing  in terms of relations with men.

The film-makers clearly took the entirely correct decision to throw away the encumbrances of the book and make something that people would actually want to see.  Perhaps they should have gone further, but never mind.  Many commentators have complained about Ms Hathaway’s Yorkshire accent, which is certainly wobbly.  But they’re missing the real point:  the character of Emma has been softened and glamourised as against the book, so this Emma might well have a wobbly accent; that Emma would certainly have kept hers intact.

As well as the accent, Ms Hathaway made a fairly unconvincing attempt at being unattractive and passive-aggressive and rode her bike like someone who’d never been on one before, especially in London.  In spite of that I thought her performance was marvellous in conveying all the conflict and change of this Emma’s emotions, and in giving the feeling she had dug up everything out of herself she possibly could to put the character across.

I personally had the true laughter-through-tears feeling on more than one occasion, and at least considered crying during the reconciliation scene between Dexter, the failed comic and Emma’s failed boyfriend.  Both that scene and the chronologically final scene put across the good and true idea that however bad your situation may be you can still choose to act decently.

***Spoiler alert***

But the film could be seen as supporting some rather bad ideas:  a good woman who enjoys sex has to die pretty soon after, and more specifically here Emma also has to die so that Dexter can become the kind of man his mother wanted him to be.  Any kind of grown-up in fact.

***End of spoiler alert***

I must say I was shocked not by Ms Hathaway’s accent but by the sight of Portcullis House (built 1998-2001) as Dexter drove out of London in 1994.  But I was more than gratified to learn of the contribution that Brockley (in fact Crofton Park) made to the creation of this movie.

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