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Former President and convicted felon Donald Trump menaces at the camera during his hearing.
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Former President and convicted felon Donald Trump menaces at the camera during his hearing.
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Review | Netflix’s ‘One Day’ is an authentic, compelling story of love across decades

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Image via Netflix
Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in “One Day.”

From moments where I wanted to shout at my screen to others where I held back tears, Netflix’s “One Day” had me invested until the very end. I approached this series blind, never having read the book or heard discussion of the series. Little did I anticipate the whirlwind of emotions I was to experience while watching.

Netflix released “One Day” on Feb. 8 as a 14-episode series adaptation of the novel by David Nicholls. The series is a coming-of-age romantic drama centered on characters Dex, played by Leo Woodall, and Emma, played by Ambika Mod. Throughout their story, Dex and Emma navigate their will-they-won’t-they relationship while also embarking on individual journeys of self-discovery. The story unfolds across a 20-year span starting in 1988 and follows the protagonists’ journeys with annual check-ins, always occurring on the same day of July 15. 

Dex and Emma first cross paths around their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. Dex, the campus mini-celebrity and heartthrob, lacks a concrete post-graduation plan apart from traveling and partying. Emma, much more academically focused, excels at the top of her class in the English department and dreams of changing the world. The two are an unlikely pair. However, after their initial encounter at a graduation party on July 15, and a night spent together, Dex and Emma forge a friendship that lasts longer than either may have anticipated.

Throughout the series, Dex and Emma’s lives diverge and then intertwine again as they each navigate adulthood — accepting new job offers, entering romantic relationships with others and discovering their individual aspirations. Sometimes they are together on the day of July 15, and sometimes they are apart. Regardless of their communication status or physical proximity, Dex and Emma’s relationship maintains a significant presence in their lives, whether or not they choose to acknowledge the depth of their connection to each other or to themselves.

Critics and fans of the novel have acclaimed Netflix’s “One Day” for its screen adaptation, praising its accuracy in capturing the book’s essence. The “One Day” novel was originally adapted into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, released in 2011. However, many criticized this adaptation, stating that the story felt rushed. A 14-episode series allowed more time for character development and a comprehensive depiction of the passage of time in Dex and Emma’s relationship. 

Furthermore, the series cast does a stellar job of portraying the characters. Leo Woodall makes for a very charming Dex, while also skillfully conveying the character’s depth, highlighting Dex’s flaws and the internal and external obstacles he faces. 

Ambika Mod shines as Emma, portraying her complex personality, humor, insecurities and intelligence. Mod also contributes South Asian representation in a lead romantic role, a departure from the norm in Western media. In an interview with ELLE Magazine, Mod shared why she initially did not want to accept the role as Emma, attributing her hesitation to societal influences and media representation. Mod struggled to envision herself as Emma, explaining that the message she had received throughout her life was that people who resemble her were not typically cast as romantic leads. 

Fortunately, she eventually realized she would make a great Emma and accepted the role.

What stands out to me as most significant about “One Day,” however, is the down-to-earth and realistic storytelling. It’s not flashy or idealistic — rather, Dex and Emma are human beings just like the rest of us, and I believe because of that, audiences can deeply resonate with the characters. In its simplicity and portrayal of the passage of time, “One Day” emphasizes the importance of seemingly insignificant actions and moments, which we may overlook in the moment. Emma and Dex’s story embodies the message that every day matters and encourages us to cherish the people in our lives. While it may sound cliché, life is indeed short.

About the Contributor
Casey Carter, Senior Staff Writer
Casey Carter is a sophomore communications major with certificates in digital media and sustainability. She is a firm believer that a good walk can solve almost anything and loves the outdoors. In her free time, she also enjoys going to coffee shops, thrifting and watching movies with her roommates.