Love and friendship are for life, and no one knows it better than Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. Netflix’s ‘One Day’ traces their story from the night they first meet, stretching over the next two decades of their lives. They are brought together, torn apart, and then reunited as they survive their own turbulent lives. The show goes deep into their relationship, revealing the intimate details of their bond, which is what makes the story so impactful. Considering that it has been made before into a film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, it is natural to wonder if the show and the film are connected somehow. Is the Netflix series a continuation of the film, or does it work more as a prequel?
Netflix’s One Day Doesn’t Repeat the Film’s Mistakes
Netflix’s ‘One Day’ is an entirely original adaptation of David Nicholls’s book and is not influenced by the film or connected to it in any way. Both the movie and the show follow the same characters over a similar timeline, but the scale of the show is bigger, as it uncovers the chapters in its protagonists’ stories, which were lost in translation when the book was adapted for the film.
One of the key differences between the film and the show is that the latter makes full use of the extended time its format allows to stay as true to the book as possible. Over fourteen episodes, the entirety of twenty years in Emma and Dexter’s life is covered, and while minor changes were made (as often happens in book-to-screen adaptations), for the most part, the show stays pretty close to its source material, with entire lines picked up for dialogue, at times.
For the film, the time constraint of the medium meant that a lot of the story had to be compressed. Instead of twenty years, the film clocked only eighteen years, and even in that, it could not focus on more than a few, with only the main events in Emma and Dexter’s life being shown to the audience. The screenplay was written by Nicholls himself, who noted the limits of adapting the novel for the film.
Another thing that didn’t seem to work in the film’s favor was Hathaway’s casting, which was met with instant rejection by the book’s fans, who couldn’t see an American actor playing the role of a girl from Yorkshire. While the casting concerns may have faded later, the compressing of the story left a lot of fans wanting more from the adaptation. Years later, when Nicholls revisited the idea of bringing ‘One Day’ on the screen, he was glad to have the option of turning it into a TV show and to give the fans a more faithful adaptation.
The author also noted that the show gets raunchier, with sex being more prevalent in the Netflix series than it was in the film or even in the book. While Nicholls did focus on Emma and Dexter’s sex life in the book, he didn’t linger long enough on those scenes. In the TV show, the situation is much different as sex is very much a part of the storytelling.
Considering that the show was released more than a decade after the film, it makes little sense to try to connect it to the movie. It was a chance for Nicholls and Netflix to bring Emma and Dexter to the audience in a new light and to do justice to the book that won so many hearts and continues to do so. It was a chance for them to revisit the story that remains relevant to people even today, and that required starting with a clean slate, which justifies any lack of connection to the 2011 movie.