ne Day, the new film adaptation of David Nicholls' widely cherished bestseller, follows the friendship-turned-romance of two Brits over the course of 20 angst-filled years. The movie stars Anne Hathaway as the prickly but loyal Emma, and it's the Oscar-nominated actress' questionable Yorkshire accent — not the film's actual merit — that's making headlines. (Check out her efforts in the trailer below.) Following Hathaway's widely-criticized turn hosting the Academy Awards in February, is this dialect distraction yet another embarrassment for the actress?
This American doesn't cut it: Hathaway's casting prompted early worries that she was "not British enough" to play Emma, a beloved fictional character, says Caroline Frost at The Huffington Post. Unfortunately, "the accent is as wobbly as everyone has feared." It veers wildly from "wartime-BBC to proper 'Eeee by gum' clangers,'" and is so distracting that "I actually forgot to cry." Any British actress passed over for the role should feel justly embittered.
"Film review: One Day, starring Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, based on David Nicholls' best-selling novel"
Actually, she sounds perfectly fine: So much for the "pre-release skepticism," says Nick Curtis at the London Evening Standard. Hathaway's stab at the Yorkshire dialect sounds "credible" to a "cloth-eared southerner" like me unfamiliar with the nuances of the accent — as most audience members will be. Certainly, it's "more convincing than [co-star] Jim Sturgess' odd channeling of Pierce Brosnan's voice for Dexter." And Sturgess is an Englishman, born and raised.
"One Day — review"
There are bigger problems than her accent: "I'm not of the no-American-can-play-a-Brit" camp, says Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly. It's easy enough to get past a wonky accent, but the problems with Hathaway's casting run deeper. Her "rangy American gameness, big smile, and shining good health" are the complete opposite of the physical and psychological attributes that make Emma's transformation from awkward duckling to beautiful, confident swan believable and moving. In every way, it's a casting misfire.
"One Day review"
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- Watch The Daily Show mock the NSA and the gamers they're spying on
- 10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2013
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The secrets of happy families
- Jupiter Ascending: Watch the latest sci-fi trailer from the creators of The Matrix
- Americans are wealthier than ever*
- 7 enduring lessons from It's a Wonderful Life
- President Obama snapped a selfie during Nelson Mandela's memorial service
- This is the twistiest tongue twister ever, says science
Subscribe to the Week