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One Day


Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Romola Garai, Rafe Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Jodie Whittaker

Director: Lone Scherfig

A pretty synthetic romantic weepie which still does hit the spot now and again. The gimmick is similar in some respects to the one used in Same Time, Next Year: a (highly photogenic) couple meet at university in 1988 and run into each other on the same day each ensuing year.

They are, of course, in love, but she (Hathaway) is unwilling to admit, and he (Sturgess) is unwilling to commit. She's fairly serious, he something of a jack-the-lad. She works in a taco bar and smells of fried cheese, while dreaming of publishing novels for children. He begins a flashy career as 'the most annoying man on TV', which eventually turns sour.

Each takes a spouse/partner (Garai, Spall) but are, of course, less than happy. And so it goes, floating by us, but rarely catching our emotions. Rachel Portman's music tries to sweep us along with it (2002, 2008 and 2010 are fortunately glossed over), but there seems little going on behind the stars' eyes: Hathaway is probably concentrating on a Yorkshire accent which seems to press the on/off button from scene to scene. Sturgess is quite winningly feckless, but there's rather a lot of him.

The best performance by far comes from Spall, who oozes an offbeat warmth and uncouth charm.

A road accident towards the end is painfully unconvincing simply because the victim would have certainly been paying more attention to traffic. But there are moments when things do tug at the tear-ducts, notably in Spall's final scene; and Paris and London backgrounds are picturesquely shot by Benoit Delhomme.

David Quinlan

UK/France 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
107 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Aug 2011