BY JOE TYRRELL
Like the intermittent yet tangled romance it chronicles, the emotional impact of "One Day" often hangs by a thread.
Frequently thwarted friends Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) spend much of their lives in different places, no matter how close their physical spaces.
Ever alert and alive, Hathaway immediately makes Em someone worth knowing.
Although her "English" accent takes a tour of Great Britain by way of New Jersey, that is not a problem for American ears.
Like Hathaway's other leading men, Sturgess is not as strong a presence. But paralleling their story, he hangs in there. His persistence turns the sometimes unlikable Dex into a man who develops understanding.
This attractive near-couple quickly escapes the structural conceit that sees the movie check in with them once a year, every July 15. Yet there's always that other implication in the title, the longing note that "One Day" is not today.
CLICK HERE FOR "ONE DAY" MOVIE TRAILER
Very gently, the script, adapted by David Nicholls from his memorable novel, plays with the bit of British folk wisdom associated with July 15, which is St. Swithin's (or Swithun's) Day. Early on, Dex garbles the proverb, which promises that whatever the weather on that date, it will persist for 40 days.
That's certainly how they begin, as new university graduates in beautiful Edinburgh. They are each celebrating with a friend, but find themselves adrift together when their pals fall suddenly in lust.
In one of the fits-and-starts that will mark their relations, the two go back to Em's room. But while she spends a few minutes getting up her nerve, Dex is putting his clothes back on. When they do tumble into bed, it's to cuddle, perchance to dream.
Director Lone Scherfig was responsible for the acutely observed "An Education," and "One Day" carries the same sense of its characters' contradictions and fallibilities.