One Day (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">One Day</strong> (2011)

(On TV, December 2016) I’m hardly the only one to have noticed that the so-called romantic comedy genre fractured and exploded sometime around 2010, replaced by a multiplicity of takes upon romantic comedy that escaped the asphyxiating constraints of the previous monolithic genre. Films much like One Day, playing both stylistically and thematically with issues far more complicated than the “meet-cute; infatuation; complications; big finale; happily-ever-after” schematic formula that romantic comedies had settled into. One Day takes place over 18 years, skipping ahead for a day from one year to another as our two characters (Anne Hathaway, in her not-annoying phase, and still-featureless Jim Sturgess) nearly get together for a long time. It teases, it plays, it tears its characters apart for no better reason that it’s not quite done with them. Adapted from a book (which seems to be a near-constant in the neo-romance genre), it’s complex, takes place over a lengthier period of time, deals with a wider spectrum of emotions and isn’t necessarily as crazily upbeat as the classic rom-com genre. Similar examples include Dear John, Love, Rosie and others. One Day isn’t particularly memorable—some development are telegraphed well in advance, the film twists and turns too much to become a cultural reference and the bittersweet nature of its ending is unlikely to make it any lifelong fans. But it’s watchable enough … even if you don’t try to make it an integral part of a grand rom-com unifying theory.

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