PopcornBiz Dueling Reviews: “One Day”

“One Day” stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as a pair of college friends--she’s a mousy wallflower who dreams of becoming a writer, he’s a dashing ladies man and famous TV host--who reunite once a year for two decades, finding each other in various stages of personal and professional success. PopcornBiz’s Scott Ross and Sasha Perl-Raver both saw the film and walked away with very different feelings about it.

Scott: I’ve seen plenty of films this year that were worse than “One Day,” but few films have left me feeling as angry. The shtick, where we catch up with the two of them every July 15, was made even more grating by the clever little ways in which director Lone Sherfig would make the date appear onscreen: Hey, look--It just popped out of a toaster!

And can we please do away with pretending that Anne Hathaway is ever anything other than gorgeous? A decade ago, when she was making "Princess" movies, the ugly duckling thing might've worked, but now Hathaway's a regular on Mr. Skin's annual top 10, she's been named on "sexiest" lists and cast as Catwoman—the universe has some rules that are inviolable and one of them is that only stone foxes are allowed to play Catwoman.

Sasha: But almost every movie with an "ugly duckling" features an actress far too mind-bogglingly beautiful to actually be believable. Think about it:

"My Fair Lady": Audrey Hepburn is hideous! At least with a cockney accent.
"Miss Congeniality": What? Sandra Bullock, a beauty queen? Well I never!
"Never Been Kissed": Drew Barrymore as friendless, pockmarked and dowdy teenager...as if we all don't remember that she was Poison Ivy when she was 18.
"Clueless": Brittany Murphy in flannel.
"She's All That": Rachel Leigh Cook in overalls.

But I'm with you on Hathaway, who tried to sell that same bill of goods in "The Devil Wears Prada" before she got a Tucci makeover.

However, I like it when dates pop out of toasters, plus, it gave me something to look forward to year in and year out, like a Save the Date version of Where's Waldo. And while you're ragging on that, did you fail to notice how stunning each of Scherfig's shots were? Whether it was the damp, curving streets of Edinburgh or Hideous Hathaway gliding through turquoise water, the director and her DP, Benoit Delhomme (who also shot "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas"), created remarkably beautiful imagery.

Scott: And that’s part of what’s so frustrating about “One Day”--there’s no shortage of talent involved. There were some visually beautiful, almost painterly, moments, Hathaway and Sturgess are both very good actors, Sherfig a fine director... but the story was so gimmicky and uninspired. And even if we were to accept that Hathaway couldn’t make herself look any better than she did, she most certainly could’ve done a damn site better than that feckless tool Ian. I was willing to accept the idea that she might use him to reset her odometer, but cohabitate? No, No, No...

Even worse than watching good people make lousy films was the ugly morality of the film. Without giving anything away, let me say that the way the fates of this film try to teach us about what’s important in life is insane, and the characters’ inability to see their own failings was bewildering. And after all that brutal lesson learning, the unbridled schmaltz fest at the end, the walk up the hillside? Gross.

Sasha: One man’s gross is this girl’s quivering lip. Did I feel a little dirty and manipulated by the walk up the hillside? Yup! But I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye anyway. You bet your Hallmark card ad, I did.

Look, this is the Nicholas Sparks School of Storytelling, where no one can be self aware because they’re all too blinded by the raging seas of unbridled passion surging and churning inside them. Of course Hathaway has to settle for a loveable but uninspired mate for part of the movie, because they have to make her bittersweet unrequited love with Sturgess that much more tantalizing.

Speaking of Sturgess, and tantalizing, for that matter, we have to give that man his due. I didn’t really understand the fervor surrounding him following Across the Universe or 21, but after seeing The Way Back, I’m growing more and more enamored. The majority of what I enjoyed about "One Day" was because of him.

Scott: It's always about eye-candy with you.


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