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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

One Day

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in "One Day."
The ineluctable charms of its source novel are sadly missing in "One Day" (Focus), a turgid adult romance about the contrasting lives of two British soul mates as traced over the course of nearly 20 years.

The appeal is supposed to be that the relationship bracketing prim Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and rapacious Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) is emotional and intellectual, but never quite sexual. In other words, it's mature and broadly, if not always straightforwardly, moral.

However, as played by the two stars—working with a screenplay adapted from his own novel by David Nicholls and under the plodding direction of Lone Scherfig—Dexter registers as impossibly whiny and immature while Emma's avoidance of sex appears to be less a sound moral choice than the result of some sort of pathological prudishness.

The story unfolds in 20 episodes beginning in 1988. All take place on July 15, St. Swithin's Day.

A ninth-century bishop of Winchester, England, St. Swithin is renowned not only for his good works, but for a weather tradition similar to Groundhog Day. To wit, if it rains on the feast of St. Swithin, it's supposed to continue doing so for nearly all of the 40 days that follow.

The vignettes begin with Emma and Dexter celebrating their graduation from college. They drunkenly initiate a bedroom encounter, but the sexual heat quickly dissipates in favor of cuddling, and they resolve to remain good friends.

Over the ensuing decades, handsome and charming Dexter sees quick success as a boorish TV host audiences love to hate, while Emma struggles as a waitress before becoming a teacher and a successful writer of children's books. As his career spirals into a morass of booze, drugs and failure, the more disciplined Emma achieves her dreams.

Dexter enters a loveless marriage and has a daughter; Emma finds herself in a stale relationship with a live-in boyfriend before becoming engaged to a French jazz musician. Yet the duo still keeps in constant touch. Though they hug during their annual get-together, Emma constantly spurns Dexter's occasionally crude advances.

Well before the five-hanky ending toward which all this is building, viewers' interest is likely to have been fatally depleted by the excessively wordy dialogue of Nicholls' verbose script.

The film contains a shadowy glimpse of female frontal nudity, brief rear nudity, implied cohabitation and a single instance of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Bernadette Soubirous: Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11,1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age. 
<p>There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette's initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of "the Lady" brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig. </p><p>According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception." It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was. </p><p>Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862. </p><p>During her life Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35. </p><p>She was canonized in 1933.</p> American Catholic Blog In humility, a woman ultimately forgets 
herself; forgets both her shortcomings and accomplishments equally and 
strives to remain empty of self to make room for Jesus, just as Mary 
did.

 
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