One Day Movie Poster Image

One Day

Book-based drama is too heavy for younger teens.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the movie's overall message is that friendship and love endure when you put in the effort (and that you should figure out who you want to be and what you want to do and commit to those goals), there's a troublesome subtext to Dex and Em's relationship that implies that if girls are just patient with a guy they like who's treating them poorly, someday he'll come around.

Positive role models

Emma is more of a positive role model than Dex -- she's earnest and caring, albeit self-conscious and not particularly self-confident (and even she is sometimes cruel to those who care for her). And though Dex has his share of issues (womanizing, drinking, etc.), he softens around her; he wants to be his best for her -- at least most of the time. They clearly care about each other, and they support each other through various challenges, but they're not always nice to each other. Still, they try to understand each other. It's an uneven, though often admirable, friendship, and it's also fairly honest.


Dex is beaten up by a guy at a bar when he hassles the guy's girlfriend. Some yelling between two people who are arguing in a restaurant. A brutal, sudden accident has tragic consequences.


Brief full nudity, including shots of a woman from the back/side as she struts in front of a man who's sitting on a bed under the sheets, and a man jumping into the water to skinny dip (viewers see his full length from a distance). Visitors to a nudist beach are also shown naked. A woman strips to her underwear and later takes off her bra and everything else (we don't see her fully naked). Discussions about group sex and sex toys and one character’s promiscuity. A married woman has an affair.


Language is infrequent but includes "f--k," "bastard," "prick," "damn," "hell," "oh God" (as an exclamation), and more.


Calvin Klein and Armani are name-dropped by a character who appears to value labels and wears them as a badge of honor.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Dexter falls into a drunken haze that lasts years, during which he behaves badly toward those he loves, including his best friend, Emma. A handful of scenes show him inebriated or going on a bender, both with alcohol and, at least once, with cocaine. Additional social drinking; characters are shown swigging wine from a bottle and taking shots.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie based on the beloved novel by Davis Nicholls is an honest examination of the years-long friendship between two people (played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) who are attracted to each other but unable, at least at first, to recognize their significance to each other. Although it's rated PG-13, the movie deals with mature topics like infidelity, alcoholism, and death. There's quite a bit of sexual content (including brief full nudity), and one of the main characters spends a large part of the movie in a drunken haze. Although the themes may well be relatable for older teens, younger viewers might not appreciate the enormity of the highs and lows of the characters' friendship -- and the realistic depiction of the damage people can inflict even to those they love most. And some teen girls might come away with the idea that if you just wait long enough, the guy you like is sure to come around.

What's the story?

Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) meet during a university graduation celebration on St. Swithin's Day -- July 15, 1988. Though they nearly sleep together, they ultimately don't, instead spending the night talking and forming the foundation of a curious and evolving friendship. Over the next two decades, they forge their separate paths -- Dexter as a too-hip TV presenter, Emma first as a reluctant restaurant waitress/manager and, later, a teacher and writer. They date others and even fall in love, but through it all their friendship endures, sometimes under the most vexing circumstances. Will they ever realize they're meant for each other? Are they? And if they do, what happens next?

Is it any good?


Unlike David Nicholls' book, this movie adaptation isn't a romance for the ages, sadly. Following in the footsteps of a beloved book is always challenging; how to infuse the cinematic version with the nuance and vision it deserves? The once-a-year check-in that gives the novel structure hampers the momentum here, and the chemistry between Hathaway and Sturgess comes and goes -- a crucial flaw in a movie like this.

That's not to say that One Day is a failure; it has enough charm and commitment to power it through. The dialogue, written by Nicholls, feels authentic and is often funny, and the actors are eager to inhabit their characters. And then there's the story -- it's still compelling, relatable, and moving (clunky surprise ending notwithstanding).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Dex and Em's friendship. Is it believable? Relatable? Are they equals? Is it important for people in a close friendship to have an equal stake in their relationship?

  • What messages does the movie send about love? Do you think love is worth more when you have to work hard to achieve it?

  • How does the movie depict Dex's drinking? Are the consequences of his behavior realistic?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 19, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date:November 29, 2011
Cast:Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson
Director:Lone Scherfig
Studio:Focus Features
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence and substance abuse

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Adult Written byhelenmirrenrox August 24, 2011

Good Movie but too much sex and swearing

Sex- 14+. There is a scene where we see a woman's back end. There is a scene on the beach where men barbieque nude and you see there back ends. A man's clothes are stolen when he is nude and we see him running after the theif with a plastic bag over his down south. You see several men shirtless and you see nipples. A woman and a man open a door and lean back onto a counter, they kiss very passionatly, then he kisses her all over, then they go into a bedroom and begin to strip (then this scene ends). A woman brushes her teeth and comes out of the bathroom her bra and underware, the man in her bed doesn't have sex with her because they agree it's a bad idea, so the just sleep next to each other. A man and a woman run down and street and begin kissing romanticly and with passion. A man asks a woman for her number and they start kissing. A man and a woman sit on a roof top alone and kiss a few short times. A woman and a man are shown in a bed sitting up while having sex, HOWEVER it only shows them from the waist up. People kiss passionatly in some scenes. A woman begins to remove her clothes and so does a man, then they kiss in their underwear and pajamas. Some people talk about sex and sex toys a few times. A man and a woman go skinny dipping in the water and you can see lots of nudity. A man's wife has an affair with a nother man, you can see them sitting in a bed with clothes on. People have relationships and hold hands, kiss, hug, and talk about sex and love. A man carries a woman up the stairs to her bed then leaves. A woman is shown sitting in a bed next to a man a few times. A bride invites a man she had sex with to her wedding and many people talk about it. ----- Violence 12+. Some men and women play a fighting game where a man gets hit on the head 3 times with a book, and a woman get slapped on the face and falls onto a floor. A man is attacked in a bar and you can see his face smash agenst glass. A man lays on the floor and cries infront of his ex and kid. *spoilers*- A woman rides her bike and gets hit by a bus, you can see her under the bus and when it leaves you can see her dying on the ground. ----- Swears 13+. This movie has a loud "F*ck", bast*rd, pri*k, Dam*, He*l and Oh G*d. People yell and shout too. ---- Drinking, Drugs and smoking 6+. This movie has little drinking ect... people are in a bar, and some wine but nothing bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bybookee September 10, 2011

Great Love Story :))

The movie really had a lot of sexual and violent contents but those are very important in making the movie unforgettable and inspiring. One of the characters may be violent but that only shows how much the people we love can change us and love us back. It also shows how we must not only love those we love dearly. They must FEEL that they are loved. There was a line in the movie that i really can't forget, "I love you Dexter. I just don't like you anymore." I suggest that if you don't want your children to see this movie because you think it's too much for them, just see it together with your whole family. Who knows, this movie may influence them to be a good parent just like you in the near future. :))
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byImiYoung August 24, 2011

Amazing, but not for everyone.

I loved this movie so much! I saw it alone last night, and I was completely into the movie. It was funny, sad, and everything in between. At one point, i was shocked and I thought i had stopped breathing for about 15 mins. I cried, laughed, and got angry. GREAT MOVIE!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking