Release Date: 6th February 2012
Director: Lone Scherfig
Starring: Anne Hathway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson
Running Time: 107mins
In 2009 David Nichols published a novel that would go on to touch the lives and hearts of many, telling a story that many called un-filmable due to it’s episodic nature and the fact that it spans twenty years of two individual’s lives. The result is a little hit and miss. I fell in love with the book over the summer and was slightly concerned about the yank casting of northern lass Emma, opposite an acceptable Jim Sturgess as reformed playboy Dexter as the accent is pretty crucial considering that when reading the book you her her in a very distinct way when her character narrates.
Emma is meek and mild at her days at Edinburgh University, she’s aware of Dex and his womanising and foolish ways and by chance encounter winds up spending the eve of their graduation with him. She’s no lady of the night and wouldn’t know what seduction was if a gigolo paraded in front of her but she still intrigues Dex hence why he wakes up in her bed with a few questions to answer. Fast forward through the years and we see Emma working in a greasy Mexican restaurant whilst harbouring dreams of being a novelist, as Dexter falls into the reality TV of the 90s, the awful hosting gigs, countless women and terrible suits on his trip up the TV presenter career ladder.
The rest of the film plays out the chance encounters and lets us see a snippet of their relationship, the ups and downs, highs and lows and of course all their romantic dalliances with other people – marriages, divorces, kids, affairs you name it it happens and they share it with each other though letters sent abroad, late night drunken phone-calls, awkward catch-up meals and drinks and even trips and holidays away. It’s clear form the get-go that Em and Dex are a modern day Romeo and Juliet, they’re meant for one-another but it’s always a case of bad timing.
From reading the first chapter of the book, you’re hooked, you’re entangled in the embraces that our girl and boy long for but with the film, even if you manage to get over Anne Hathaway’ god – awful accent then there’s still something not quite right about it. A lot of the bigger moments on the page are missed and some are changed for the sake of the screenplay, which results in some of the purity and angst being lost in the ether, which just spoils the story.
The film is OK but the book is superb. It’s hitting the shops in time for being considered as a Valentine’s Day gift and you could do worse, but you could also do better, as could the makers of this film.
Happily, there’s quite a bit on offer here. There are featurettes aplenty and lots of looks at how the characters were created and transformed. Commentary from Director Lone Scherfig and the two key cast members throw in their views about bring Dex and Emma to life.