One Day review: justice for fans of the David Nicholls novel

Netflix's take on the blockbuster book hits you like a 'Tyson Fury left hook'

Dexter and Em on St Swithin's Day, 1998
Dexter and Em in Edinburgh, where their 'will-they-won't-they' relationship begins
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix's new production of the bestselling novel "One Day" by David Nicholls is "exquisite". 

That's the view of Carol Midgley in The Times and thankfully so, as the 2011 film version was "a dud", mainly because of "Anne Hathaway’s systematic massacre of the Yorkshire accent", which was not too dissimilar to Dick van Dyke’s attempt at Cockney in "Mary Poppins". 

'Will-they-won't-they friendship'

In the new 14-part drama, Ambika Mod, who played junior doctor Shruti in "This Is Going to Hurt", is "fabulous" as Em, with excellent deadpan comic timing. And Leo Woodall as Dexter is "glorious" too, building on his uncompromising turn in "The White Lotus".

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In "One Day", Em and Dexter meet on St Swithin's Day – 15 July – 1998 on their graduation day at the University of Edinburgh. The story revisits their will-they-won't-they friendship on the same day every year and this series is "like a charming flipbook with the highest production value you've ever seen", said Rebecca Cook in Digital Spy.

There are some failings that even Netflix couldn't fix, though. Dexter only seems to fall in love with Em once she's "taken off her glasses, straightened her hair and he's exhausted all other options", said Cook.

'A lovely nostalgia trip'

But it captures some beautiful seminal British moments: "a boozy graduation ball; a hazy summer evening spent drinking wine on London's Primrose Hill; a midnight heart-to-heart in the middle of a lamplit maze", said Neil Armstrong on the BBC. The soundtrack, including Massive Attack, Suede and Jeff Buckley, is a "lovely nostalgia trip", said Midgley, and it's a "delight to linger in this pre-social media, pre-2008, pre-Brexit world of eternal summer", said Cook. 

And in the London Evening Standard, Alexandra Jones concluded that the book probably isn't as good as we remember it. Still, she said, this "gorgeous, cleverer than most, rom-com" is the "perfect, sunny watch for gloomy February".

Get ready for the ending, which Midgley said will "put you through the wringer" like a "Tyson Fury left hook".

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