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‘One Day’ Netflix Series - Review

David Nicholls’s infamous One Day has received another on-screen adaptation, this time as a Netflix series, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The new mini-series premiered on the streaming platform on February 8th, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and documents Emma and Dexter’s relationship spanning over twenty years. Originally written as a novel in 2009, One Day was then adapted into a movie in 2011, written for the screen by the author himself, David Nicholls, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. 

Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew begin their story on July 15th 1988 at the University of Edinburgh, and each episode takes audiences through July 15th over the next 20 years. Initially, July 15th doesn’t seem to be a significant day outside of the One Day world, but it’s St Swithin’s Day, a day that is meant to determine the weather for the rest of the summer. 

Writing for The Guardian in 2021, Nicholls wanted the day he wrote about to hold significance, “It couldn’t be a birthday, Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve – too repetitive – but it would be helpful if the characters could register its significance. St Swithin’s Day corresponded to graduation season, the starting line of the journey, and its mythology seemed to tie in with those themes of unpredictability.” 

I watched the film religiously before actually sitting down and reading the book - I knew what was going to happen, but I wasn't prepared for my heart to break all over again. That’s how I felt with the Netflix series, I knew exactly what was coming but it didn’t make it any easier. 

When I first heard one of my favourite books (and films) was being re-made, of course, I was sceptical - the film had done such a beautiful job at bringing the characters to life, I didn’t think I could imagine any other actors as Emma and Dexter, but I was wrong. When I watched the series, I was surprisingly impressed at the newest adaptation. 

Spanning 14 episodes, starring Ambika Mod (This Is Going To Hurt) and Leo Woodall (The White Lotus) as the lovers turned to friends turned to lovers again, the series is more aligned to the book than the 2011 adaptation is. Despite taking place on the same day, the ever-changing events that take place are what keep viewers hooked, as well as Mod and Woodall’s interstellar performances. 

“It’s so much more than just a romance, it’s the whole spectrum of life and growing up,” Ambika Mod said to CNN, and it’s the truth - it’s what makes One Day stand out from other romance stories. The trials and tribulations of life are effortlessly portrayed in the mini-series, seemingly in the same way Nicholls conveys in the book. As someone in their twenties, it’s a must-watch if you don’t want to feel alone. Nicholls has said, “The intention with One Day was to write something intensely emotional with the quality of a great old song.”

This adaptation was commissioned by Netflix back in 2021, the following June, Mod and Woodall were announced as the leads, and filming took place from July 2022 to January 2023. Upon its premiere, One Day scored 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and received raving reviews. One thing I found particularly heartwarming about the release of this series is that a whole new generation gets to experience this story differently, and those who already know and love Emma and Dex get to relive the emotions One Day induces all over again. 

Edited by Chloe Mansola 

Image ‘One Day (2024)’ by Netflix licensed by Netflix and Drama Republic

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