Sometimes we grow out of relationships. Other times we grow into them. And then there are those that always seem to be just between sizes.
In One Day, based on David Nicholls' book of the same title, Emma (the always-lovely Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) meet on graduation day at the University of Edinburgh. Well, officially meet. Emma's admired Dexter from afar for awhile, though he's never noticed her. The timing and circumstances (high spirits, new beginnings, alcohol) are perfect for a hook-up, at the very least.
But things don't quite work out. After some awkward fumbling, Emma and Dexter decide they'd be better off as friends and spend the day together platonically. We see how different they are: Emma's a bright working-class girl who lacks self-confidence; Dexter possesses the hubris-laced ease of someone who's never really had to work for anything. But somehow, they fit. For a moment, anyway.
When the day ends, the two embark on very different paths. But don't be fooled by the title. Emma and Dexter don't just see each other annually, à la the fabulous play "Same Time, Next Year." The film just decides to focus on their relationship on the same day every year—July 15, the anniversary of when they met.
Early on, the two friends are in touch regularly. Dexter travels the world on his parents' dime, while Emma works at a Mexican restaurant in London to get by. She's quite the mess when Dexter visits her—terminally single, broke and unaccomplished. Dexter assures Emma that she's beautiful and capable, and better things are around the corner. They go on vacation together. ONE DAY Movie Contest: Tell A Love Story, Win Free Flicks & More
And all the while, you're eating your popcorn and wondering when they're going to get together already. They're perfect for each other and will have adorable on-screen children. And why can't you find someone like Dexter?
Well, it doesn't happen. The very things that bring Emma and Dexter together—timing, circumstances, the differences that make them compatible—also keep the relationship in limbo. They clearly love each other as friends, but a romantic relationship is just out of reach. The film's producer, Nina Jacobson, sums it up perfectly: "It takes us time to grow up and until we do, we can't necessarily be with the person we're meant to be with. That time is necessary, yet it's also something you can't get back."
As Emma and Dexter mature and love each other from afar, they also grow apart. They fall in love with other people and pursue completely different careers and interests. But even their happiest moments as individuals seem to be missing something: I'll give you one guess what it is.
One Day opens in theaters today. Who will you be thinking about when you see it? After all, most of us consider someone "the one that got away"—or maybe "the one that's here, but never made a move." Some of us even have one of each! Classic love stories are full of external obstacles, like dueling families, war and, let's not forget, cholera. But these days, it's mostly the stuff in our own heads that thwarts happiness.
Do you think it's important to grow up before finding or being in a relationship with the right person for you?