One Day, Netflix, review: a bingeable romance with all the depth of a puddle – or Emily in Paris
David Nicholls wrote a book named One Day which was very popular in the 2000s. It was usually seen resting on the bookshelf near High Fidelity and Bridget Jones’s Diary. This novel was about a love story but with an interesting twist. It explored the journey of two people, Emma and Dexter, who met in college and how their lives evolve every year on the same day, St Swithin’s Day, from their twenties to forties.
The likability of the characters in the previous adaptation was subjective to one's personality and acceptance towards them calling each other by nicknames constantly, with one being too laid-back and the other being too serious. However, those who enjoyed it, genuinely did. Therefore, Netflix has a lot to live up to with their new version. It's better to not mention the previous film where Anne Hathaway tried to portray a character from Leeds.
The followers of the book will surely be thrilled with this TV show, expertly adapted by the writer from Three Girls named Nicole Taylor. It's the most addictive Netflix series since Emily in Paris, even though it lacks depth like a puddle in the dry season; but sometimes that's exactly what viewers desire. It flows so smoothly that you can breeze through some of the segments, which are hardly 20 minutes long, without any effort.
In 1988, Dex and Em met for the first time on graduation day while they were studying at Edinburgh University. In the following years, they remain mostly as friends with occasional periods of being distant. There are moments when they both have romantic relationships with other people, like Emma dating Jonny Weldon, who is a not-so-funny stand-up comedian. While watching their story, you might feel frustrated and urge them to finally confess their feelings for each other, but that's just how things go in romantic comedies - they need to overcome obstacles to find true love.
The show features Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall who play their roles perfectly. Just like in the book, you need to forget about reality and believe that a handsome and charming man like Dexter, who comes from a high-class education, could fall for an awkward and ordinary woman like Emma, who is described in the book as having oily skin and a chubby face. However, this unrealistic aspect is what makes the novel so appealing, as it is a classic Cinderella story where the ordinary girl eventually ends up with her prince charming - in fact, she saves him. This makes the novel a hit among fifteen-year-old girls.
Mod's background is Indian, so naturally, her character also shares the same heritage. However, this is only briefly mentioned in the story and doesn't affect it much. Though the actress did a great job in This Is Going to Hurt, her Northern accent seemed somewhat generic and reminiscent of Mrs Hall from All Creatures Great and Small, mixed with a bit of Fay Ripley's accent from Cold Feet.
Woodall, who recently played a chatty Essex boy in The White Lotus, brings out Dexter's vulnerable side and makes him more likeable, even when he's hosting a TV program called Largin' It (think Johnny Vaughan-meets-Tim Lovejoy). When Dexter and Emma are together, they captivate the audience. However, when they're apart, there's an unevenness because Dexter's scenes are much more lively than Emma's mundane life.
The music in One Day is a delightful reminder of the past. The time period depicted in the movie is from the 1990s to the 2000s, and there are little touches that capture the essence of those times: men wearing Davidoff Cool Water cologne, tough girls on late-night TV shows, and the emergence of Kettle Chips as a fancy new snack. If you're the type who gets sentimental, you might watch One Day and reflect on the difference between how you thought your life would be when you were younger and how it actually turned out. For the rest of us, we can enjoy a trip down memory lane when arranging a date meant writing a letter, finding a public phone booth, or being one of the early adopters with a mobile phone that had a retractable antenna.
Starting from Thursday 8 February, you can easily access and watch the movie "One Day" on Netflix.