One Day (2011 film)

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One Day
One Day Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Produced by Nina Jacobson
Written by David Nicholls
Based on One Day
by David Nicholls
Starring Anne Hathaway
Jim Sturgess
Tom Mison
Jodie Whittaker
Rafe Spall
Joséphine de La Baume
Patricia Clarkson
Music by Rachel Portman
Cinematography Benoît Delhomme [1]
Edited by Barney Pilling [1]
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date
  • 8 August 2011 (2011-08-08)(New York City premiere)
  • 19 August 2011 (2011-08-19)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom
Budget$15 million [2]
Box office$56.7 million [3]

One Day is a 2011 British-American romantic tragedy film directed by Lone Scherfig, and starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. It was adapted by David Nicholls from his 2009 novel of the same name. Focus Features released the film theatrically in August 2011.



The film follows Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley on the same day—15 July, St. Swithin's day—over 18 years. On 15 July 1988, after their graduation from the University of Edinburgh, Dexter and Emma spend a platonic night together and agree to “just be friends”.

One year later, Dexter helps Emma move to London to pursue a career as a writer. Finding little success by 1990, she ends up a waitress in a Mexican restaurant, where she meets Ian, an aspiring comedian. Meanwhile, Dexter travels the world, staying in touch with Emma. He visits her on 15 July 1991 and suggests they take a holiday. They go to France in 1992; despite their mutual attraction, Emma turns down Dexter’s advances. By 1993, Dexter is a successful television presenter with a raucous late-night show.

Dexter visits his parents on 15 July 1994 after his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He arrives still under the influence from a night of heavy partying, infuriating his father. His mother is unimpressed with his wild lifestyle, and tells him he is not yet a nice person. That night, Emma goes on a date with Ian; despite their lack of chemistry, they begin a relationship.

By 1995, Emma is a school teacher and lives with Ian, but is increasingly irritated by his laziness. Dexter’s new show makes him "the most annoying man on telly". Meeting Emma for dinner on 15 July 1996, Dexter gets high on cocaine, flirts with another woman, and insults Emma. She storms off and, deciding that they have outgrown each other, tells him that although she loves him, she no longer likes him.

Two years later, Dexter loses his television career, and by 1999, is in a serious relationship with Sylvie. Meanwhile, Emma has split up with Ian; he confronts her over their breakup and his jealousy of Dexter after reading her diary. Before leaving, he praises the stories in her diary and urges her to have them published. On 15 July 2000, Emma and Dexter attend the wedding of mutual friends. Dexter receives a job offer from Calum, his old roommate who has since become a multimillionaire. Emma tells Dexter she has received a book deal, and Dexter reveals that he and Sylvie are to be married, as he will soon be a father. Dexter and Emma rekindle their friendship.

By 2001, Dexter is a devoted father to his daughter Jasmine, unaware Sylvie is having an affair with Calum, and Emma's book is published. Two years pass and Dexter, divorced, visits Emma, now a successful author living in Paris. Hopeful after a previous drunken tryst with Emma following his divorce, Dexter learns she has a new French boyfriend, and departs. Emma has second thoughts and chases after Dexter. They share a passionate kiss, and finally begin a relationship together.

Emma and Dexter are engaged by 2004 and eventually marry. Dexter opens a café in England, sharing custody of Jasmine, and he and Emma try, unsuccessfully, to have a child. On 15 July 2006, Emma is hit by a truck while riding her bicycle, and dies. Inconsolable, Dexter returns to his self-destructive habits. Over the years, he is comforted by Sylvie, by Jasmine, his widowed father, and even Ian, now happily married with children, who visits Dexter and tells him that Emma "lit up" around him, assuring Dexter that "she made you decent… and you made her so happy".

On 15 July 2011, Dexter visits Arthur's Seat in Scotland with Jasmine. The film flashes back to 1988: after their night together, Dexter declines Emma’s invitation to spend the day with her, but changes his mind. They climb Arthur's Seat and at the top, Dexter suggests that instead of being casual friends, they “finish what they started” the previous night. They race back to the flat, but encounter Dexter's parents on the street. Emma leaves, and Dexter tries to tell his parents she is just a friend, but chases after her to ask for her number. They kiss passionately, and promise to see each other again.



The film is a co-production between Random House Films and Focus Features. Film4 Productions is co-financing. [1]

Actress Anne Hathaway said she was clandestinely given the script as the film was set in the United Kingdom and director Scherfig was not looking for any American actresses for the part. Hathaway flew to London for a meeting with Scherfig to explain why she should get the part. Hathaway later said it was "the worst meeting of my life... I was just inarticulate", but on leaving Hathaway wrote out a list of songs for Scherfig to listen to, saying, "I clearly didn't communicate to you what I needed to today. But I think these songs can do it for me." Scherfig did listen to them, which led to Hathaway getting the part. [4]

Principal photography commenced in July 2010. Filming took place on location in Scotland, England and France. [1] The production filmed in Edinburgh, the city where Dexter and Emma first meet, in August 2010. [5] Various landmark locations, including Arthur's Seat, were used. [6] Production then moved to London. Parliament Hill Lido in north London was used for scenes in which Emma, of varying ages, swims. [7] Filming took place inside a house in Granville Road in Stroud Green for scenes involving Jim Sturgess and Romola Garai. [8] Scenes in the shop and cafe were filmed at Leila's shop and cafe on Arnold Circus, close to Brick Lane in the East End. [9] UK railway Station filming took place at Ridgmont Station on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale Line. [10] Filming in France took place in Dinan and Dinard, a town close by to St. Malo, in the Brittany region. A seaside club was turned into the Café Paradis, designed to ape Greek themes.

Critical reception

The film is ranked as "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes with a 36% positive approval rating (only 51 out of 140 critics gave positive reviews), with the consensus stating "Despite some fresh narrative twists, One Day lacks the emotion, depth, or insight of its bestselling source material". [11] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-" on an A+ to F scale. [12]

Betsey Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times called it a "heartbreaking disappointment of a film" [13] while Peter Howell of the Toronto Star said "Long before the credits roll, you may find yourself wishing your life could flash before your eyes, to end the monotony of this relentless turning of calendar pages." [14] In contrast, Roger Ebert said "One Day has style, freshness, and witty bantering dialogue." [15] Anne Hathaway's Yorkshire accent in the role of Emma has been widely regarded as subpar. Newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore, reviewing the film on BBC Radio 4's Front Row , said the accents were "all over the shop". Moore went on to say, "Sometimes she's from Scotland, sometimes she's from New York, you just can't tell". [16]


One Day (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedAugust 16, 2011
Genre Alternative rock
Label Island

Track listing

1."Sparkling Day" Elvis Costello 4:46
2."Roll to Me" Del Amitri 2:12
3."Aftermath" (Hip Hop Blues) Tricky 7:39
4."Reverend Black Grape" Black Grape 5:11
5."Born of Frustration" James 4:36
6."Rocks" Primal Scream 3:35
7."Praise You" (One Day OST Version) Fatboy Slim 5:22
8."The Rhythm of the Night" Corona 3:24
9."Angels" Robbie Williams 3:58
10."Life Is a Rollercoaster" Ronan Keating 3:55
11."Sowing the Seeds of Love" Tears for Fears 6:15
12."Joy" François Feldman 4:06
13."Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)"Elvis Costello3:31
14."One Day Main Titles" Rachel Portman 1:53
15."Wedding Chorus"Rachel Portman1:38
16."July 15th"Rachel Portman1:37
17."We Had Today"Rachel Portman3:43

See also

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