VOD Spotlight: Twenty years, two people, one bittersweet love story in “One Day”

Directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education, Academy Award-nominated for Best Picture), the romantic drama One Day is adapted for the screen by David Nicholls from his bestselling novel of the same name.

After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess, Across the Universe) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives. Together and apart, we see Dex and Em through their friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. Somewhere along their journey, these two people realize that what they are searching and hoping for has been there for them all along. As the true meaning of that one day back in 1988 is revealed, they come to terms with the nature of love and life itself.

“The wit of David Nicholls’ writing appealed to me,” says Scherfig. “But what compelled me was just how much of a real love story the piece is – and at a level you rarely come across.”

“It is a love story,” affirms Nicholls. “It’s also about friendship and family, nostalgia and regret, and the way that our hopes and dreams don’t quite come true – at least, not in the way that we’re expecting them to. There is a bittersweet quality to it. I wanted to write an old-fashioned – I suppose it is that – romance showing the ups and downs of a relationship over a long period of time.”

Nicholls spent two years working on the novel. “I was writing other things alongside it,” he notes. “Also, it required a lot of planning beforehand, like a jigsaw puzzle; planting seeds in one year of the story that turned into plot points in another. I had to work out what was going to happen on the many July 15ths. I didn’t write One Day as a screenplay in disguise but I love writing dialogue and fiction, so perhaps inevitably there was a filmic quality.”

Producer Nina Jacobson was struck by how much One Day affected her as she read it. She says, “I fell in love with the characters. The story is very universal. These characters, Emma and Dexter, and their journey truly speak to the way in which you transform after graduating from college and living your life; who you are then, and who you are 20 years later. It takes us time to grow up and until we do, we can’t necessarily be with the person we’re meant to be with. That time is necessary, yet it’s also something you can’t get back. So there is a wistful tone to the story.”

“One Day” is available starting Nov. 29 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.


© 2011 Universal Studios