One Day is Netflix’s latest adaptation of the eponymous 2009 David Nicholl’s novel. Starring Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in the leading roles, the show dropped on Tudum just in time for Valentines Day.
One Day is the first series adaptation of the eponymous 2009 novel by David Nicholl and the 2011 Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess starrer. Featuring Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in the leading roles of Emma and Dex, the show was directed by four talented directors- Luke Snelin, John Hardwick, Molly Manners, and Kate Hewitt. The series dropped all 14 episodes at once on Netflix, leading to a massive binge. The result follows accordingly.
One Day follows the story of Emma and Dexter, who literally bump into each other on July 15, 1988, the night of their Graduation. Emma is an idealist with a degree in English, she wishes to change the world. Dexter is a privileged hedonist who lives for the ride and if forced to work, would not mind being rich and famous.
The former is nerdy, beautiful in her feminist, shy, bookish way, the latter, a cocky, handsome rich brat who doesn’t mind taking a different girl to bed every night. Poles apart, their encounter, which leads to an incomplete but meaningful one night stand where they talk the night away, link them for life.
Every episode follows Emma and Dexter, on the same day with every passing year, as they manage to stay in touch, via letters, postcards, calls, or just thoughts. Some years they just happen to cross each other, others they hold picnics or attend weddings, and in a handful, they are distant, but never truly apart.
The show adaptation was necessary as the series’ vignette-like plot, that occurs on the same day every year, shows a slice of life, that manages to encapsulate the most important moments they spend together. Their efforts and fate intertwine Emma and Dex in bonds of acquaintance, friendship, anger, regret, love, and grief, offering a real glimpse at life, through a creative window unaffected by space and time.
The entire cast of One Day is promising. They will make you laugh, sigh, nod, grin, kiss your teeth with restraint, and weep throughout. Among the supporting cast, Jonny Weldon as Ian and Essie Davis as Dex’s mom Alison especially shine, with their strong and gut-wrenching performances. Amber Grappy as Tilly, Tim McInnerny as Dex’s father, Stephen, and Eleanor Tomlinson as Sylvie also catch our eyes now and then with their solid portrayals.
Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall give some of their best performances yet, as Emma and Dex. Helmed by four directors, the show was to be a hit or a miss, in terms of both execution and exacting performances out of the leading pair, as the show centers around them.
But the directors manage to get the best out of these malleable actors, by creating intense fight scenes, angsty scenes of tension and sadness, as well as crackling chemistry and sensual scenes without resorting to full-on nudity. Leo Woodall proves his acting mettle, being far more than a ‘pretty boy’.
One Day proves to be a captivating watch, slow burn but never boring. Its wonderful, well-paced execution of the subject manner by using long scenes, longing glances, and unsaid but implied words is exceptional.
Certain long moments between the two could certainly be finetuned a bit more and the happy final years spent in the 2000s by Dex and Emma could have been shown a bit more, an episode or so. Still. It is better to not be that finicky and give the show a watch or three, as it is that enchanting and aesthetic in its two decade-long exploration of the shades of love.