TWO MOVIES TO MAKE OR BREAK YOUR SUMMER

You know the book. The one with the garish cover, all Hitchockian undertones and with a font for the eye to follow. It’s dominated your commute for the last year, ubiquitous in the hands of 20, 30 and 40 somethings longing for a romantic buzz with their morning muffin. Well now it’s a film – David Nicholls ambitious, all encompassing One Day has been lifted from page to screen.

You can practically hear the groan as large lattes perish and croissants hit tube train floors. Yes the author of Starter for Ten is partly to blame for James McAvoy’s ascent and now we can all point a finger and say you ruined my summer of film as this inevitable car cash collides with cinemas in a few weeks time. That’s not to say the book’s bad: Nicholl’s life affirming pop fiction piece spans twenty years in a controlled fashion, but you can bet your bottom dollar we’ve got issues ahead.

First up, and this is a major problem, Anne Hathaway plays the lead. The wide-eyed all-American meerkat is Emma Morley, a frumpy quick-witted English rose. It seems unlikely that Emma’s dry humour and eccentric foibles can be conveyed by the girl who gave us Ella Enchanted. Secondly, Jim Sturgess plays Dexter Mayhew. Finally we have the trailer – one of the most saccharine, soul-sapping previews of all time that gives away swathes of plot and practically every interesting twist the book supplies in two and a half minutes of schmaltz. One can only hope the book’s uncompromising ending has been left untouched. For the optimists amongst us, Lone Scherfig directed the thing, and her previous efforts including An Education and Italian for Beginners, and were full of emotional maturity and brittle, beautiful moments, so let’s pray for more of the same. Many people depend on it.

If you like a dose of realism less sweet, then Paddy Considine’s tasty looking directorial debut hits the screen this autumn. If One Day is your strawberry cheesecake then Tyrannosaur could be a rump steak of a movie, dripping in grimy gravy and globules of grit. Just like in his acting roles, Considine hasn’t shied away from harrowing themes and thoughts. A story of redemption, Tyrannosaur stars Olivia Colman as Hannah, a woman looking to fight her way out of an abusive relationship. Colman has shined brightly in TV roles for years now (Peep Show and Rev spring to mind) so a chance to flex her acting chops with players like Peter Mullan is a very welcome sight.

Sliding alongside these two is Eddie Marsan, the unsung star from Happy Go Lucky and Vera Drake, his presence serving to reinforce an already prominent working class sheen to the film. Sundance lapped it up, Tyrannosaur’s devastating plot and dark, enigmatic imagery a real hit in the States. Reportedly the film is brimming with romance, reality and heart, something One Day looks to be lacking in.

By Ian Roebuck

Originally published in issue 30 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2011