One Day review: Film is as fake as Anne Hathaway's accent – Daily Mail

By Jan Moir for the Daily Mail

The heroine of David Nicholls’s best-selling novel One Day is a no-nonsense Yorkshire lass called Emma Morley. Emma is a swot who gets a Double First at Edinburgh University and speaks with an ay-oop accent.
She has terrible hair, which she cuts herself because her mind is on higher things. She thinks that bothering to look nice is just ‘silly trivia’. She wears Doc Martens and talks about the miners a lot. She is a premium-grade dork.
Attractive, Emma is not. As described in the 2009 novel — as the millions who have read the much-loved book know — Emma’s skin has a pallid puffiness that speaks of too much time in libraries and of drinking pints in pubs.
Driving Miss Dizzy: Jim Sturgess as Dexter Mayhew and Anne Hathaway as Emma Morley in the film One Day
Her spectacles are owlish, her face is plump, she has a crop of red spots and a chipped front tooth. She is no oil painting, unless you count the oil that seeps from her greasy skin to form fresh crops of pimples.
Ugh, what a right-on mess she sounds. What a frump, an unattractive lump. So in a film of the book, who would you cast to start as this geeky, spotty, mouldy, Northern, frizzy-haired horror?
Fizz from Coronation Street? Nobby Stiles? Gracie Fields? Think again, film fans! For in the highly-anticipated film version of One Day, which goes on general release tomorrow, it is American actress and superstar Anne Hathaway who stars as geeky Emma.
Yes, that Anne Hathaway, the drop-dead gorgeous star of The Devil Wears Prada and Rachel Getting Married. The one with the saucer-sized Malteser eyes and smile that goes all t-t-trembly and vulnerable, making her look like a Shetland pony with a thorn stuck in its hoof. A smile that makes strong men go weak at the knees and weak men feel strong.
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It is no exaggeration, absolutely none, to say that Anne is one of the most gorgeous creatures in Hollywood.

She’s up there with Charlize and Julia and Angelina. Her skin gleams like frosted cream, she has sooty eyelashes and a tumble of perfect raven hair.
She has also got long legs, a smoking bod, lips like a bruised strawberry and those huge, stonking, white tombstone Hollywood teeth that you just know take a great, big, carb-free bite out of life every single day.
In her many films to date, Hathaway has proved she can do ingenue, she can do sharp businesswoman, she can even do Jane Austen. The question is, can she do Leeds weed?
And the answer, I would venture after seeing the film this week, is a resounding no. No, no and no again.
She neither looks nor sounds like the Emma depicted in the book. And, more important, she’s about as frumpy and  ee-bah-gum as Beyonce. I know we are in the realms of fantasy here, I know we have to suspend disbelief and go with the flow, but sticking Anne Hathaway under a greasy wig and plonking a pair of milk bottle specs on her perfect retroussé nose does not a geek make.
Poetic licence: In David Nicholls’ book One Day, the character of Emma Morley thinks looking nice is ‘silly trivia’
In fact, it is an insult to geeks everywhere even to try. Listen to me carefully. It does us Plain Janes and incontrovertible she-nerds a terrible disservice to have this silky glamazon of wanton loveliness pop on a bobbled cardigan and pretend to be one of us.
It’s not fair! It just won’t wash, Anne, and I’m not talking about your heroically ghastly fake fringe and your habit of wearing cotton ankle socks with flat shoes in this film in a pathetic bid to be unattractive.
Even from here I can see that your gorgeous Hollywood legs are shaved, toned and golden in the all-important above-sock area. So that doesn’t count.
And in some of the earlier scenes, where Emma/Anne is supposed to be at her most physically grotty, the desperate One Day make-up department has even given her the kind of red nose that would give Rudolph a gallop for his money.
That doesn’t work either. It’s like pinning a rosette on the Mona Lisa. It doesn’t make her look bad, just a little bit silly.
Just like nothing can camouflage Hathaway’s incandescent beauty in One Day, nothing can hide the awfulness of her fake Yorkshire accent.
Really, it is quite something to behold. For it is a nomadic accent — it was born under a wandering star. It’s all over the shop.
Best-seller: One Day by David Nicholls has become a cult classic
In an interview with Hello! magazine this week, Hathaway said that she worked with a dialect coach for eight hours a day for six whole weeks to try to get the accent right. Perhaps she should have tried harder. Trying to be Yorkshire isn’t easy.
In truth, it is not as bad as Dick Van Dyke’s famously bad Cockernee accent in Mary  Poppins — but it’s not far off it. There are moments when it seems to capture some shadowy echo of Jimmy Savile and downtown Leeds but then it’s off, roaring past Manchester en route to London, stopping off somewhere in posh Chelsea, before taking a detour to Stockholm and then straight back to the Dales.
‘You with your honeyed words,’ Emma/Anne says at one point, sounding exactly like Ena Sharples ordering some fancy cakes in the corner shop. The next minute, she sounds like the Duchess of Cambridge taking breathy delight in a fly-past at the Palace. Oh, very bay window, as Ena would say.
To be absolutely fair to Hathaway, on page 277 of the novel a character called Miffy does point out that Emma used to have a ‘really strong’ Northern accent, but now ‘just talks like everybody else’.
However, it does make one wonder why director Lone Scherfig didn’t just drench some gritty British actress with the frump hose and get stuck in.
For at the end of the day, authenticity is all. Not since Renee Zellweger first climbed into Bridget Jones’ big pants has an American actress snatched a true Brit role from under the noses of our finest actresses. Perhaps they should be glad — for One Day is not a huge success.
The story begins in Edinburgh, on St Swithin’s day in 1988. Emma and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) end up in bed together on graduation day, although they do not become lovers.
He is a posh boy, way out of her grubby league. She is a frump, remember, but supposed to be witty and warm.
True romance is not on the cards that day, but the film — just like the book — chronicles their friendship over the next 20 years, picking up the action on the same day in July every year.
As their lives spool out over the decades, they are buffeted by life and its disappointments.
Yes, I did blub most of the way through — but that’s because I am a sucker for heart-rending rom-coms, even flawed ones like this.
One Day certainly has its affecting moments. However, David Nicholls himself adapted the screenplay, but fails to capture must of the texture and sweetness of his novel.
It’s become the paperback sensation of the summer. But how many of the thousands who read it on the beach or by the pool this month will be disappointed when they rush to the cinema this weekend to see it on the big screen?
In the book, you are swept into a world where the smell of soap powder lingers on cheap sheets and into London flats that reek of fried onions and disappointment.
Emma has a certain kind of witty, warm British snap that Hathaway just cannot capture.
And do you know something? She’s just too damn pretty to boot.
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