One Day (2011 film)

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This article is about the 2011 Lone Scherfig film. For the 2009 Penny Woolcock film, see 1 Day.
One Day[1]
One Day Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Produced by Nina Jacobson
Written 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[2]
Edited by Barney Pilling[2]
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • 8 August 2011 (2011-08-08) (New York City premiere)
  • 19 August 2011 (2011-08-19)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $15 million[3]
Box office $56,706,628[4]

One Day is a 2011 romance drama film directed by Lone Scherfig. It was adapted by David Nicholls from his 2009 novel of the same name. It stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Focus Features released the film theatrically in August 2011.[2]


Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) meet on 15 July 1988 after their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. They spend the night together but agree to be friends. The film reconnects with Emma or Dexter or both on one day, 15 July, St. Swithun day, over the next 23 years.

On 15 July 1989, one year after they first met, Dexter helps Emma move into a flat in London, where she plans to pursue a career as an author. Having had little success as a writer, she is working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant in London on 15 July 1990 when she meets Ian (Rafe Spall), an aspiring comedian who has taken a job at the restaurant. Meanwhile, Dexter is travelling the world, drinking and having sex promiscuously with a succession of girlfriends. Eventually Dexter becomes a wealthy and highly successful television presenter on a raucous late-night show. Although Emma encounters Dexter once in a while over the years, no romantic relationship develops between them.

Dexter visits his parents on 15 July 1994 to see his once-glamorous mother (Patricia Clarkson), who has been diagnosed with cancer and is terminally ill. He arrives at the family home still under the influence of drugs and alcohol from heavy partying the previous night and drinks a lot throughout his visit. Dexter's mother tells him that she is unimpressed with the nature of his television show and that she believes that he can still be a good man but no longer thinks of him as nice, while his father (Ken Stott), disappointed with him for his obvious alcohol and drug use, tells Dexter he will ban him from the family house if he ever visits his mother in the same intoxicated state again. On the same day, Emma goes out on a date with Ian, the comedian. She does not find Ian funny, but the two continue to date anyway and soon move in together. While living with Ian, Emma becomes a school teacher.

Emma grows steadily more irritated with Ian because of his lack of ambition and failure to contribute to maintaining their household, so she and Dexter organize a meeting over dinner on 15 July 1996. During dinner, Dexter gets high on cocaine, insults Emma, flirts with a blonde down the hall, and ignores Emma most of the time. After making a public scene in the restaurant, Emma storms off, and outside she decides that they must break off their friendship entirely due to them outgrowing each other. She tells hims that she loves him but no longer likes him before she runs off, crying, into the night.

By 15 July 1998, Dexter‍ '​s television career has gone into a steep decline because he is 32 years old and television executives prefer presenters in their 20s. Meanwhile, Emma and Ian split up and she becomes a published author.

On 15 July 2000, Emma's former university roommate and Dexter's old friend get married, and both Emma and Dexter are invited to the wedding. There Dexter receives a job offer from Calum, his old roommate who has since become a multimillionaire who owns a chain of organic food restaurants. Dexter and Emma reconnect, and Emma discovers that Dexter has a fiancée, Sylvie (Romola Garai), and is on the way to becoming a father. Emma tries to hide the fact that she is upset and shares a very brief but meaningful kiss with Dexter. Dexter later learns that Sylvie is having an affair with Calum and they divorce.

Emma moves to Paris, where Dexter visits her on 15 July 2003 in the hope that they will get together again. Emma and Dexter had had another one-night stand after his marriage to Sylvie broke down, but by this time Emma has a new boyfriend (Sébastien Dupuis), a French musician who plays piano in a jazz band. Smitten with Emma but taken aback by the revelation that she has a boyfriend, Dexter decides to leave. Emma, having second thoughts, chases after him and warns him never to hurt, lie to, or cheat on her. He promises that he will not. They share a passionate kiss and finally start a full relationship together.

Emma and Dexter become engaged and marry. Parlaying his restaurant experience into a new career, Dexter opens his own cafe in England, which proves to be very lucrative, and he and Emma start trying to have their own baby. They are unsuccessful and become frustrated. While riding her bicycle out of a blind alley on 15 July 2006, Emma is hit by a truck and dies.

Dexter becomes inconsolable and self-destructive, and is particularly desolate each year on 15 July. Over the years he gets support from his ex-wife Sylvie, their daughter Jasmine, his widowed father, and even from Emma's old boyfriend, Ian, who also mourns Emma every year on 15 July.

On 15 July 2011, Dexter visits Arthur's Seat in Scotland with Jasmine. While there, he remembers a visit he and Emma made to Arthur's Seat together in 1988, as well as the events of the morning after their first meeting on 15 July 1988 – including their promise to one another to be friends.



The film is a co-production between Random House Films and Focus Features. Film4 Productions is co-financing.[2]

Actress Anne Hathaway said she was clandestinely given the script as the film was set in the United Kingdom and director Scherfig wasn't 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.[5]

Principal photography commenced in July 2010. Filming took place on location in Scotland, England and France.[2] The production filmed in Edinburgh, the city where Dexter and Emma first meet, in August 2010.[6] Various landmark locations, including Arthur's Seat, were used.[7] Production then moved to London. Parliament Hill Lido in north London was used for scenes in which Emma, of varying ages, swims.[8] Filming took place inside a house in Granville Road in Stroud Green for scenes involving Jim Sturgess and Romola Garai.[9] 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.[10] UK railway Station filming took place at Ridgmont Station on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale Line.[11] Filming in France took place in 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[edit]

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".[12] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-minus" on an A+ to F scale.[13]

Betsey Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times called it a "heartbreaking disappointment of a film"[14] 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."[15] In contrast, Roger Ebert said "One Day has style, freshness, and witty bantering dialogue."[16] 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".[17]


  1. ^ One Day | A Focus Features Film | Movie Overview
  2. ^ a b c d e "One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, begins production" (Press release). Focus Features. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Amy (18 August 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Conan' may not conquer 'The Help'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "One Day (2011)". Box Office Mojo. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  5. ^ Slotek, Jim (2011-08-14). "'One Day' with Hathaway". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Anne Hathaway Spends 'One Day' in Scotland". OK!. 2 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Author Nicholls set for Edinburgh Book Festival". 19 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Akbar, Arifa (6 August 2010). "The Diary: Anne Hathaway; Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Jonathan Miller; Jane Austen; Cineroleum". The Independent (London). Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Anne Hathaway movie crew takes over house". Tottenham, Wood Green and Edmonton Journal (Archant). 18 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  10. ^ Leila's, Calvert Avenue, London | Shopping/Food and Drink Shops in |
  11. ^
  12. ^ "One Day (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Finke, Nikki (21 August 2011). "'Conan', 'Fright Night', 'Spy Kids 4D' Flatline; 'The Help' Needs No Help At #1, 'Apes' #2". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Sharkey, Betsey (2011-08-19). "'One Day' doesn't live up to its promise: movie review". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Co). ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Howell, Peter (2011-08-18). "One Day: Beware the ides of July". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (2011-08-17). "One Day". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Anne Hathaway watched Emmerdale to grasp One Day accent". BBC News. 24 August 2011. 

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