One Day ~ A ‘Love’ Movie Review

Posted by in dating after divorce, single women over 40 | 4 comments

My friend and I were excited for the new release, One Day starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. The movie covers twenty years of the couple’s July 15th dates. I was curious as to whether Anne Hathaway’s character, Emma Morley, and Jim Sturgess’s character, Dexter Mayhew, would have good ol’ Hollywood chemistry. Would they remain great friends or would they end up as a couple together?

We made extensive plans to go out last week to see the chick flick together. When I say extensive, I mean she had to arrange for her husband to be home from work to take over the care of their new baby in order for us to make it to the movie in time.

We were able to pull off our big plan, and as my friend handed off the baby to her husband, we jumped in the car and headed downtown to the theater. With great anticipation, we watched as the movie opened and we were first introduced to Emma and Dexter, who have a fairly disastrous almost hook-up on July 15, 1988, following their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. Why did they graduate in July? Not sure, but that’s apparantly not important to the plot!

Okay, so the movie was cast poorly, Anne Hathaway’s British accent was flawed, and the dialogue was sucky. But I am not going to focus on the details of the plot. This is not that kind of movie review. It’s a love review. It’s about what the movie made me think about love.

To sum up the message I got from the movie, loosely based on a quote about life : Love is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Here’s a bit of the plot that you need to know in order for this love review to make sense: Dex and Emma continue their friendship but live separate lives for most of those twenty years. Charming Dexter slowly crashes and burns into an alcoholic and drug-induced stupor, and the studious Emma works hard and slowly but surely achieves success as the writer she has always wanted to become.

It takes them nearly twenty years of a continued friendship to realize they are meant for each other. Hence the above message of the movie.

Does this happen in real life?

How many people do you know who started out friends and ended up married? I don’t know too many. After all, Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker, said that one of the main reasons she broke up her 7 year relationship with her fiancé was that they started out friends, and the passion was never fully there.

Don’t get me wrong, I think friendship is an essential part of love. You need to be on the same wave length. You need to ‘get’ each other. Ideally, you are great friends with your spouse or partner.

But can you know each other for twenty years, witnessing each other go through relationship after relationship, maybe even get married and divorced, and suddenly realize that you’re really meant for each other?

I’m not fully buying it.

I’m afraid that this movie had a lot of Hollywood love moments that don’t happen in real life. The kind that make you yearn for something that is not realistic. The kind that set you up for failure and depression around the topic of love.

That’s why I post so many real life love stories on my Facebook page. I believe in love. I even believe you can love your best friend.

But, we all don’t look like Anne Hathaway or Jim Sturgess. Bad boy doesn’t usually turn good with the right woman sweeping him off  his feet. You don’t usually end up with your best friend twenty years later.

Hollywood can ruin love if you let it. So don’t.

Don’t compare your marriage or relationship to the one in the movies. Don’t yearn for something that is romanticized by the silver screen.

Real love is based on friendship. It’s also about how you tolerate the other’s dirty socks or whether the toilet seat is left up or down. It’s about respect and admiration. But also about how you argue and make up.

After the movie, my friend and I spoke over frozen yogurt about this romanticized version of love that sets the bar too unrealistically out of the ballpark for us humans.

So go out and find love ~ with real people. Build loving relationships one step at a time.  And don’t let Hollywood fool you into romanticizing love too much. Real love is beautiful. Raised toilet seat and all that comes with it.



  1. Sandy–
    I saw this same movie and last night and appreciate your take on it. I, too, thought there were some issues with the “love” part of the plot, but I saw it a bit differently.

    I think the Anne Hathaway character (Emma) has such a deep rooted crush on the sexy Jim Sturgess character (Dex) that she doesn’t allow anyone of any sort of substance into her life. She pines for him while he goes through his epic I-need-to-find-myself-or-just-get-over-myself journey to such a degree that once she does find someone suitable (sexy French guy) Dex wakes up, realizes he is going to lose her for good, and she gets what she thoguht she wanted all along.

    And, while I agree with you that the Hollywood-ness of the movie has problems, what I do see again and again in real life while blogging about dating (and dating myself) is perfectly wonderful women who pine away for Sexy Losers with the hope that one day the man will wake up and fall in love. Do the men ever wake up? Sure. Some of them even become suitable boyfriend material. What they don’t do, however, is choose the woman who has been waiting for them the whole time.


  2. Julie,

    Thank you for adding your well-written, intelligent response to my review. I agree wholeheartedly that so many smart, successful, beautiful women give it all up for a man who, like Dex in the movie, is a sexy bad boy, doesn’t treat them with the respect that they deserve, and is not available for a mutual relationship.

    And like you said, a rare few of these men can come around to be ‘mentches’, but they don’t usually end up with the woman who waited for them to come around.

    Giving up all your power, being addicted to someone like that, is unhealthy on many levels. I coach about it all the time. I am sure you do, too.

    To real love with real men and women,


  3. Oh Sandy–

    I wish I could take my own advice from time to time . . . . seem to be a bit of a oh-I’m-sure-he’ll-come-around-for-me woman myself. . . . but I am getting good ideas from you and others on the What? Not! Blog– Thanks again!

  4. Julie,

    You are in good company. Why are such smart women so damned stupid when it comes to the men they are attracted to? Why do we think we’ll be the ones who will change these unavailable guys?

    To be honest, I have been guilty of chasing after the wrong men, too. But, I have definitely grown older and wiser in my choices. And the results? Relationships with good guys who are emotionally available to me. Guys who choose me. Guys who are know what they want and who they are.

    These guys exist. They may be few and far between, but they are out there. Go find one and report back to me!


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