The romantic drama “One Day,” based on the popular novel by David Nicholls, chronicles the 20-year relationship of two Brits, Dexter and Emma, showing only what happens to the pair on July 15th of each year. July 15th commemorates both joyous and heartbreaking milestones in their complicated relationship and, ultimately, it is the one day that defines their star-crossed love and changes their lives forever.
In a recent interview, Anne Hathaway, who plays the Emma, revealed the day that had the greatest impact on her own life.
“August 3, 2001,” she said, without hesitation. “That was the day ‘Princess Diaries’ came out. And that day changed my life.”
The 28-year-old actress said she doesn’t celebrate the anniversary of her big break in Hollywood, but offers thanks to the invisible forces that carved her path to stardom. “That was the day a bunch of dreams came true for me,” she said. “There are a lot of aspects of my life that are very real, but there are a lot of aspects of my life that are very fairytale. And that was the day my fairytale started.”
The story of Emma and Dexter is far from fairytale. The two meet on the day of their college graduation in 1988 and, after nearly sleeping together, decide to remain friends. Over the course of their relationship, Emma and Dex develop a bond that extends beyond ordinary friendship as their dependency grows. They are best friends. Best friends who defy time and distance to quench their need for one another, but fail to buck their own naivety, ignorance, addictions, ego and misguided expectations to take their relationship to the next level.
“One Day,” however indirectly, raises the question of whether men and women can truly be friends and avoid the pitfalls that come with emotional attachment and physical attraction.
“I absolutely believe in friendship between a man and a woman,” Hathaway said. “I think that the friendship stays purer when each of the people is in a relationship. It’s a lot easier to keep your relationship from getting messy.”
English actor Jim Sturgess, who stars opposite Anne, said he agreed in part.
“I think men and women can be really good friends,” the 30-year-old explained. “I don’t know if they can be best friends like [Emma and Dex]. How do you have a relationship with somebody else if you’re that connected to this very special person? If you’re that close to someone and you find them attractive, it would seem ridiculous not to partner up.”
In her personal life, Hathaway said she’s found both a friend and fiancé in actor Adam Shulman, whom she’s dated for the past three years.
“He’s my best friend,” Hathaway gushed, taking a moment to clarify that she won’t say much about her off-camera romance. “I think part of the reason why I’m so happy in my relationship is because he’s not just my boyfriend. We’re a lot of things to each other.”
If you are to believe the stars of “One Day,” successful relationships are made up of equal parts friendship, attraction and circumstance. Both Sturgess and Hathaway acknowledge that, had the posh and cocky Dexter and the naively optimistic Emma partnered up after their first encounter on graduation night, the resulting romance would have been short and tragic.
“He would have treated her very badly and she wouldn’t have had enough self-possession to call him out on it,” Hathaway said.
“He would have ultimately cheated on her,” Sturgess said. “I think that’s the interesting thing about the film and about relationships and about love and fate. It had to happen at [a certain time].”
The film shows that, over time, two people who are meant to be together can ultimately make mistakes, outgrow their immaturity, learn from life and come out the other end ready to embrace fate and each other. Hopelessly romantic? Yes. But that’s what “One Day” is, unapologetically. Dexter and Emma change dramatically over the course of 20 years, yet they never lose the qualities that draw them together. And that’s something even a Hollywood starlet can relate to.
“I’ve learned, as I get older, I take in life more and I think that’s making me a better person,” Hathaway said. “I’ve found that I become more trusting, but I trust fewer people. The people I do trust—it’s gone much deeper.”
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.