Monday, 22 September 2014

One Day - book versus film

 Emma and Dexter meet on their last day at university, at a graduation party. The next day they go their different ways - who knows where they'll be in a year's time? David Nicholls' story charts their lives through 'snapshots' of each 15th July.

 When I first heard of this I expected something rather like the Alan Alda/Ellen Burstyn film Same Time, Next Year but whereas that has a couple promising to meet on the same day every year, Emma and Dexter make no such promise - sometimes they're together, more often not. Partly because of the assumed similarities I didn't hurry to either read the book or watch the film. Then it was shown on TV and someone bought the dvd so I've now seen the film several times. To be honest it's not my favourite rom com; Hathaway and Sturgess turn in adequate but not spell-binding performances and it's all pleasant enough but not anything special.

 With that in mind, and having heard a lot of praise for it, I expected the book to be I saw it in the library one day and borrowed it. The first thing that struck me was how alike book and film are, but then I started to feel that the book dragged. Being used to seeing the whole story unfold in 1hour 40minutes, 435 pages seemed a long, slow read. There were actually points early on where I nearly gave up. Then came some little story-snippets that never made it to the film, so I carried on, but still found it rather flat. Admittedly, knowing the ending takes an edge off a first read-through but it's not a book I'd pick up a second time.

This time, the film wins - mainly because there's no time to get bored with the characters - but, as I said, I'm not a huge fan of that. So 3 stars to the book; 3.5, maybe a grudging 4, to the film.


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