Monday, 19 September 2011

One Day

Probably for many people One Day is one of the most long awaited films of the year. The book by David Nicholls has become a cult classic and the population has been divided into those who have read it and those who haven't. Behind the recognisable orange cover is a story of two people's relationship over twenty years. Nicholls shows Emma and Dexter on the same day (July 15th) every year, revealing the changes in their lives and the ups and downs of their relationship. When I read the book I completely fell in love with it and its characters and it is most certainly amongst my favourites, so naturally like fellow fans of the novel I was both excited and wary of a cinematic adaptation.

Director Lone Scherfig came under fire before the film was even released due to a somewhat unusual casting choice. The role of the dowdy yet beautiful, sarcastic and witty, working class Yorkshire girl, Emma was to be played by an American and none other the Anne Hathaway. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by Hathaway's take on the role. She played it well, was believable and likeable. But the one massive problem for me of the entire film was her accent. In places the Yorkshire came out but she varied from clipped upper class, to cockney, to even in places having an Irish lilt. Unfortunately for me it was hard to look past but luckily the film had many redeeming qualities.

Jim Sturgess's Dexter was perfect. He was arrogant, self-destructive, pathetic and irritating, yet charming, kind, funny and in the end loveable; the perfect character development. His public school boy act was faultless and he couldn't have been better. I now can't see anyone else playing Dex, which is in the end what every fan of a book wants when they see their favourite novel on screen.

There were also great performances from the rest of the cast. Dexter's parents played by Patricia Clarkson and Ken Stott captured the agony of the family relationship and the despair for Dexter. Romola Garai who played Dexter's wife, Sylvie was also very good and perfect for the character. Also the considerably smaller roles of Suki, played by Georgia King and Tilly, played by Jodie Whittaker provided much humour, particularly from Jodie Whittaker in one scene where Tilly serenades her new husband at her wedding. But for me the stand out performance (along with that of Jim Sturgess) was Rafe Spall's Ian, a failing stand up comedian and boyfriend of Emma. I have been a fan of Rafe Spall for ages but this performance was, not only arguably his most noteworthy to date, but in my opinion his best. Pathetic but loveable, Ian is the sweet but rubbish boyfriend of Emma who is, of course, always second best to Dexter. Rafe Spall made the character both funny and touching and was in my opinion exceptional.

The overall way the film was made excellently and Scherfig very cleverly approached the great task at hand. The characters really feel like they are changing over the course of twenty years, something which is very hard to convey on camera and the story was of course touching. The film was beautiful in its own right even if it can't ever compare to the book.

Monday, 12 September 2011

New York, I Love You

Paris, je t'aime is one of my favourite French films yet it is one which is quite different and many people find it weird and difficult to understand. The idea behind the film is to show a short film in each of the arrondissements of Paris and how people fall in love both with and in the city. Every short film has a different director and the film has a cast of many famous and highly acclaimed actors from around the world.

After I first watched the film I heard rumours of a second film in the Cities of Love franchise from producer Emmanuel Benbihy set in New York. New York, I Love You takes a similar format to the first film, a collection of shorts, some of which intertwine, tell the story of different forms of love. Both the films show the diversity in these iconic cities whilst showcasing much of the talent the respective countries.

There are ten stories in this film and among my favourites are the story of a composer played by Orlando Bloom and the girl who helps him finish his work played by Christina Ricci and also the story of a boy who goes to prom with a girl in a wheelchair which is really funny and sweet.

There were, as in Paris, je t'aime, a few stories which I didn't like or get but I think this is partly why the film is good. There is something for everyone as it covers so many bases.