You may only need 24 hours to read David Nicholls’ smart and romantic international bestseller “One Day,” as the book is so darn good you won’t want to put it down. But, in case you don’t have one day to read the 2009 novel, we’re here to help. On August 19, you’ll get to experience a decades-spanning relationship between two friends who learn profound lessons in love, loss and life together. Here’s everything you should know about the beloved book before it heads to the big screen next Friday! (Fair warning: It’s slightly spoilery!)
Characters you need to know: There’s Emma Morley, a lovely, yet modest woman who dreams of becoming a great writer, while dead-end jobs and complicated relationships challenge her along the way. Then there’s the other half of the story, Emma’s other half, her best friend Dexter Mayhew. While Dex is rich and handsome and charming, his strained relationship with his parents (including his ill mother Alison), his brush with fame (for a time he hosts a cheesy television talk show) and his inability to give his heart completely to Emma (particularly in their younger years) makes him a bit hard-to-love at times. In addition to the will-they-or-won’t-they-get-together pair, you’ll meet Ian, a struggling stand-up comedian and friend of Emma’s who is hopelessly in love with her and Sylvie, a kind, but torn woman whom Dex marries and has a child with before their relationship heads in an unexpected direction.
Plot Synopsis: On July 15, 1988, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew meet for the very first time on the day of their college graduation. They spend the night together (though they don’t go all the way) and quickly form a unique bond with one another. Over the next 20 years, we catch up with the two on the very same day, July 15, as they go through new jobs, new cities, new experiences and new loves. Sometimes together, sometimes apart, but always in each others’ hearts and minds, Emma and Dex share happiness and heartache.
Stars: Anne Hathaway, who already has a diverse and impressive resume (in addition to being an Oscar nominee—and host!—the actress has starred in some of our favorite flicks including “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Princess Diaries”), is once again trying on a British accent to play the funny, relatable Emma. Jim Sturgess, who had his big break-out role in “Across the Universe,” will speak in his native tongue as Dex, the decent, albeit misguided man Emma is destined to be with, despite their many hiccups along the way. His mother Alison, a voice of reason when Dex needs it most, is played by the incomparable Patricia Clarkson. Rafe Spall, a character actor known for his work on BBC programs, plays the sweet, silly Ian, while Romola Garai (“Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”) stars as Sylvie, the woman who finally gets Dex to settle down.
A scene from the book that must be in the film: While attending the wedding of a mutual friend, Emma and Dex, who have lost touch with one another for some time, wander off from the reception to catch up. On the grounds of the lavish affair, the estranged friends walk through a maze (talk about a metaphor for their relationship!) on a beautiful, balmy summer evening. As the two pass through corridors and decide which routes to take, Emma and Dex reminisce about the old days. Then, the evening takes an unexpected turn when Dex announces to Emma that he is engaged to Sylvie. The moment, while bittersweet, is rich in details and emotions and makes you realize how far these two characters have come, and how much further along their journey they still have to go.
What the film’s got over the book: Well, the book never had a trailer that we could replay for months on end, that’s for sure. Aside from the fact that there’s a stellar cast and a top-notch director (Lone Scherfig of “An Education”) for the adaptation, but now we actually get to see these characters age (of course, Jim Sturgess as 40-something Dex is just as handsome, if not more so, than 20-something Dex) right before our eyes. And, much like the similarly themed classic “The Notebook,” the movie is destined to become one of our go-to flicks when we need a good swoon, or more accurately, a good cry.
Have you read David Nicholls’ timeless “One Day,” Crushers, or do you plan to before the movie comes out? Are you excited to see the love story told on the big screen? Tell us in the comments section below and on Twitter!