Review: “One Day” (2011)

“One Day” (2011)

A Film by Lone Scherfig

Ah, the month of love.  Chocolate candies, roses, and of course, love stories.  Last week, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it fitting to review a film that features a love story.  “One Day” is based on the best-selling book by David Nicholls.

Can a woman’s love make a man a better person?  This age old question envelops the film and follows Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess).  Their love story starts out on the day of their college graduation on July 15, 1988.   The film follows their relationship by checking in with them every year on the anniversary of their graduation.  They are not always together but manage to keep some type of connection throughout the years.

Emma is determined to become a writer but ends up working at a Mexican restaurant after her move to London.  She takes a few detours in her professional life and eventually finds her way back to writing.  Dex, on the other hand, is all about living it up and squeezing every last bit of fun out of life.  He starts a career in television production and quickly starts partying too hard and becomes a drug addict.  His life seems glamorous when compared with Emma’s steady progression, but Dexter’s party boy life puts him on the fast track to self-destruction.

They stay a constant in each other’s lives even after Dexter gets married and Emma starts dating Ian (Rafe Spall).  They keep getting brought back together, sometimes by chance and sometimes by choice.  I know some would say that Emma should just give up on Dex because he should take care of himself, but I can’t help but think that they bring out the best in each other.  Although, yes—there were times when Dex got a bit whiny and just needed to grow up and stop calling Emma every time he was in a jam.

While some love stories can be predictable and cliché, I appreciated that “One Day” wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows.  Some critics have said that Lone Scherfig’s films have light humor, though a pervasive sense of tragic prevails.  I believe this to be right on point with “One Day.”  She dives deeper into the characters and keeps the story flowing with twists and turns.  She brings the ordinary to life and makes you want to invest in the characters and their fates.  This might not be a typical love story, but it is definitely one worth watching.


Lotus Wollschlager is the official Her Film movie reviewer.  Find her bio on the Her Film Reviews page.

SUNDANCE: days 9-11

The Sundance Film Festival officially ends today, and awards were given out last night.  I’m encouraged that so many women received such international recognition for their films — see below for the list of winning films by women (as directors and writers).

Days 9-11


Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic & Excellence in Cinematography – U.S. Dramatic

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (co-writer Lucy Alibar)*

U.S. Directing Award: Documentary

THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (director Lauren Greenfield)*

U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (writer-director Ava DuVernay)*

World Cinema Screenwriting Award

YOUNG & WILD (director & co-writer Marialy Rivas)

U.S. Documentary Editing Award

DETROPIA (directors Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award

INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE (directors & editors Lisanne Pajot & James Swirsky)*

World Cinema: Documentary Special Jury Prize

AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (director Alison Klayman)

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic

MY BROTHER THE DEVIL (writer-director Sally El Hosaini; cinematographer David Raedeker)

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing

NOBODY WALKS (director & co-writer Ry Russo-Young; co-writer Lena Dunham; producers Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, Alicia Van Couvering)*

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary

PUTIN’S KISS (director Lise Birk Pedersen; cinematographer Lars Skree)*

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing

SMASHED (co-writer Susan Burke; producers Jennifer Cochis, Jonathan Schwartz, Andrew Sperling)

See the slideshow of all winning titles on the Sundance Channel website.

*Films have been picked up during the festival for theatrical or VOD distribution, except Indie Game which will be adapted into a fictional half-hour series for HBO.


Writer-director Julie Delpy’s film 2 Days in New York has been picked up by Magnolia Pictures.  Delpy also stars in the film opposite Chris Rock.  Magnolia will release the film via VOD (Video On Demand) as well as in theatres.  No word yet on which territories this covers (I’m assuming at least North America), or a firm release date.  Read the story over at Nikkie Finke’s Deadline Hollywood.

Magnolia has also picked up director & co-writer Ry Russo-Young’s feature film Nobody Walks which she co-wrote with Lena Dunham (most well-known for her film Tiny Furniture and her upcoming HBO series “Girls” which will premiere at SXSW in March, then on HBO in April).  Check out the story over at Reuters (incl. information on 2 Days in New York).

Check out all the distributors that picked up films at Sundance this year in this indieWIRE story.

I’m expecting more acquisitions to happen in the next few days and weeks and will try to update the Sundance film acquisitions list to include those titles.

Women’s stories this week

Oscars Shortlist: Best Foreign Language Film

Agnieszka Holland’s latest film In Darkness makes the Oscars shortlist for Best Foreign-Language Film.  Holland is the only female director on the shortlist of nine feature films.

Amongst the shortlist are four films from Europe, one film from North America, two films from the Middle East, one film from Asia and one film from Africa.  Writer-directors seemed to be the multi-hyphenate celebre of the shortlist this year. Almost every film had a writer-director.

In key creative roles (writing, direction, cinematography, editing) only Pina was photographed by a woman: Hélène Louvart, while Omar Killed Me was edited by Monica Coleman, A Separation was edited by Hayedeh Safiyari, and Footnote was edited by Einat Glaser-Zarhin.  For some great background on the Oscars submissions for foreign language films and the women who directed them, check out Marian Evans’s “Women directors in Foreign Language Academy Award submissions” article and trailers over at her Wellywoodwoman blog.

Belgium – Bullhead (Michael R. Roskam, dir.)

Canada – Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, dir.)

Denmark – Superclasico (Ole Christian Madsen, dir.)

Germany – Pina (Wim Wenders, dir.)

Iran – A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, dir.)

Israel – Footnote (Joseph Cedar, dir.)

Morocco – Omar Killed Me (Roschdy Zem, dir.)

Poland – In Darkness (Agnieszka Holland, dir.)

Taiwan – Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Wei Te-sheng, dir.)

Trailer for Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness


Sundance Diaries

Huffington Post is doing a great series this month on the 64 short films selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival this year.  Titled Sundance Diaries, the filmmakers themselves write diary entries talking about their experiences making their films and getting the notification from Sundance that they’d been selected. The festival officially kicks off tomorrow and runs for about 10 days.  I’ll have consistent Sundance coverage throughout the next week and half.  Check out some diaries from women filmmakers:

Kataneh Vahdani – “Avocados”

Julia Pott – “Belly”

Kelly Sears – “Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise”

Jessie Ennis – “The Arm” (directed with Brie Larson and Sarah Ramos)

Jill Soloway – “Una Hora Por Favora”

Kat Candler – “Hellion”


Full list of Sundance Diaries entries at Huffington Post.



Genie Awards nominations announced

In Canada, there’s an annual celebration of film called the Genies.  The Genie is Canada’s top award for achievement in cinema.  (Those who can’t understand its importance without reading “Canada’s version of the Oscars,” well, there you go, I just wrote it.  Understand now?  Good.)  Canada’s film industry is quite interesting, especially given the presence of Quebec which functions much like European countries do, pouring money (relatively speaking) into its indigenous film industry to support it, and seeing a pretty successful box office return.  Its French-speaking audiences go to see Quebecois French-language films.  But in the English-speaking areas of Canada (pretty much everywhere outside of Quebec), the Canadian English-language cinematic landscape is often savagely mowed over by crushing U.S. competition helped in part by the U.S. ownership of Canadian movie theatres.  That’s why I love to pay attention to stories like the Genie Awards nominations and the First Weekend Club‘s plan to introduce a VOD service to stream Canadian films in order to increase audiences and support for Canadian-made movies.

Today, the nominations for the Genies were announced.  See below for a full breakdown of the nominations — women who were involved in the films are highlighted below.  Some key names that jumped out at me were Larysa Kondracki (her film The Whistleblower is nominated for Best Motion Picture, she’s nominated for Achievement in Direction, and she and Eilis McKirwan are nominated for Best Original Screenplay).  Also, I was extremely glad to see that filmmaker Michelle Latimer’s film Choke was nominated for Best Animated Short.  Latimer gave an interview to Her Film back in April 2011 which you can read here: “Authenticity of Voice.”

2012 Genie Awards nominations (five nominees in each category)

BEST MOTION PICTURE / MEILLEUR FILM (Names indicate producers)

MONSIEUR LAZHAR – Luc Déry, Kim McCraw

THE WHISTLEBLOWER – Christina Piovesan, Celine Rattray 

Trailer for The Whistleblower


LARYSA KONDRACKI – The Whistleblower


ANNE ÉMOND – Nuit #1


Trailer for Nuit #1


BEAUTY DAY – Jay Cheel, Kristina McLaughlin, Kevin McMahon, Roman Pizzacalla


THE GUANTANAMO TRAP – Thomas Wallner, Amit Breuer, Patrick Crowe

LA NUIT, ELLES DANSENT / AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE – Isabelle Lavigne, Stéphane Thibault, Lucie Lambert

WIEBO’S WAR – David York, Nick Hector, C.C.E., Bryn Hughes, Bonnie Thompson


HOPE – Pedro Pires, Phoebe Greenberg, Penny Mancuso

LA RONDE – Élaine Hébert, Sophie Goyette


CHOKE – Michelle Latimer

WILD LIFE – Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby, Marcy Page, Bonnie Thompson

There were no female directors of photography nominated in the “Achievement in Cinematography” category.

See the full list of Genie nominees by clicking here.  (Opens a PDF).

National Cinema: Call for interviews & guest posts

Returning after a much-appreciated hiatus, the Her Film blog will be hitting it hard beginning this month as we move into the new year in a few weeks.  More interviews with women filmmakers and posts on films about women will go up on the blog in the coming weeks.  The “Her Film News” monthly newsletter will officially launch the first week of January 2012.  I can’t wait!


In 2012, a new series focused on national cinema will be introduced.  This series will help me delve into the experiences and work of women filmmakers from particular areas in the world, with a new area or country featured about every quarter of the year.  Filmmakers are wanted for interviews (short Q&A’s, standard interviews and long-form multiple part interviews) as well as guest posts.  For information on how these interviews work and how to participate, please check out the Join in! page.

Beginning in January, the first areas to be featured in the National Cinema series will be Turkey and Sweden.  Turkey purportedly has more working women filmmakers than Hollywood, and Sweden is actively engaged in enforcing mandates to increase funding of films made by women and films with at least 40% women in key positions.  We’ll be discussing women filmmakers from these countries as well as the films themselves, funding schemes, audience reception and the history of women filmmakers, plus much, much more.

If you would like to participate by conducting an interview with a Turkish or Swedish woman filmmaker, writing a guest post, being interviewed or participate in another way, please email me to let me know how you would like to become involved in the National Cinema series.

THANK YOU to all of you who have subscribed to the blog, signed up for the newsletter or connect with Her Film on twitter, facebook or some other way.  It is vital that we support each other and stay in contact.  I am back on track and rested up from the hiatus, and I’m ready to reboot this blog & global project!

Happy to be back and to know you’re all out there trying to make a difference,