One Day Netflix Show Is Screenplay Brilliance

One Day Netflix Show Is Screenplay Brilliance
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One Day Netflix Show Is Screenplay Brilliance. Generally, not exactly a fan for romance screenplays. Sure, there is the random exception of the Before Sunrise series, Columbus, and the like. Talking – screenplays that show its brilliance in the reality of the dialogue. But One Day is something different entirely. Its dialogue isn’t its strength actually… The rest of this post is going to be a spoiler filled purge, so please be sure that you watch the series before continuing on. Otherwise you’ll have ruined one of the great show structures and reveals.

So, my argument is that this show’s structure and screenplay is brilliantly constructed and architect-ed from its original source material. If you want to concretely see the difference between a really poorly constructed screenplay and a stellar screenplay… It’s easily doable. Here are the steps:

  1. Read the book One Day – hush, it’s a super fast read
  2. Watch the Anne Hathaway train crash adaptation
  3. Watch the Netflix adaptation of One Day

Now, compare and contrast the source, and the adaptations and the intricate interplay between all three. It will become abundantly apparent. Maybe David Nicholls needed two runs at this screenplay for his own book? Maybe it’s just extra practice?? Who knows, but these two attempts are worlds apart.

One Day Netflix Show Is Screenplay Brilliance

First, the format… the episodes… it’s totally built and structured atypically. What was it, 14 episodes? Something like that. And each one averages something like 25 minutes? Maybe tops out at 38 minutes? 42? Something? But drops as low as 18 minutes?? It’s definitely structured to support a streaming world that doesn’t care a lick about ads, or network constraints.

And color me simple, but I didn’t notice the repetition of the day til episode 3 or 4! hahah. I was paying attention to the years mainly. AH, SEQUENTIAL YEARS! My wife was like……… chief. It’s literally the same day each year. Ah. So it is. Look at that. I’m sure you caught it straight away, and I was still outside swinging in the breeze. And it’s the single most important detail of the entire series! hahah. Worse!? I’ve seen the Anne Hathaway version of this story as well. I hadn’t read the book yet.

KEY IDEA #1 – One Day

I really enjoyed the way that One Day walked the viewer through the revelation of the story’s narrative without telling them anything. We watch as a Emma reads to Dex the key portion of Great Expectations – “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” How a single day, any day can have enormously complex repercussions throughout a person’s life. So that is key idea #1.

KEY IDEA #2 – One Day

But then the novel’s author goes on and reveals the critical infrastructure and underpinnings that architect-ed this entire story. And thankfully, David Nicholls, the book’s author, producer, and screenplay writer for this adaptation explains why he killed Emma at the end of the story.

“Some people think it’s a terrible, terrible thing to do in that kind of novel, that it breaks the genre in a way that’s frustrating for readers. So I’m aware that for some people it feels like a trick or cheating or something. To me, it was the starting point of the novel. So the novel is about a day that seems ordinary. Why are we seeing this day? It’s a pretty eventful day, but why aren’t we seeing the day they get married? Why aren’t we seeing them at Christmas? Why aren’t we seeing all of these other things, which they talk about? Oh, the reason we’re seeing this day is because of this.”

The significance of the day? It’s because of the fact that 15 July 2002 is the day that Emma will die. Nicholls went onto explain his inspiration for marking Emma’s death day in this way was from Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, in which the lead character Tess ponders on death days. Nicholls credited the idea to Thomas Hardy…

“She philosophically noted dates as they came past in the revolution of the year. Her own birthday, and every other day individualized by incidents in which she had taken some share. She suddenly thought, one afternoon, that there was another date, of greater importance than all those; that of her own death; a day which lay sly and unseen among all the other days of the year, giving no sign or sound when she annually passed over it; but not the less surely there. When was it?”

Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Sly and unseen. So brilliant. Sly and unseen. Man. Insidious. I have not ever read any Thomas Hardy and I’m thinking this is an error I need to rectify. Regardless, you can see that in episode 14, this epiphany is depicted on the screen when Emma suddenly has the thought, “She suddenly thought, one afternoon, that there was another date, of greater importance than all those; that of her own death.” Which is what has been providing the narrative arc throughout the entirety of the whole story.

THiNC. Thoughts on One Day

Edinburgh! My first date with my wife was in Edinburgh. (She would argue this point, and say this wasn’t a date. But holy cow what a day, how could it not be?!? hahah.) And it was lovely to watch and see all these familiar places all over again. Arthur’s Seat (which I have not hiked, but my wife has… it is a life failing, I see this now), Old Town, the Royal mile, the Old College quadrangle, etc., etc. It is such an amazing city, please go out of your way to visit. My favorite story from my time there was that my wife and I had just gotten out of the Kenneth Branaugh’s Much Ado About Nothing… and we were walking through the park at the base of the Edinburgh Castle (Princes Street Gardens, I now know it is called), and we can upon a trash bag filled with trash, sitting there on the sidewalk. And out of the top of it, squirmed an enormous rat, and I jumped sky high. Quite literally out of my skin. My wife though, just laughed hysterically at me. Which, to be honest, was fair. Anyway, enough tripping down memory lane. Go visit Edinburgh.

One of the running gags on my new podcast – that I have had a blast doing with Barry from – is catching up on Barry’s Romedy watch list for the week. And while I do enjoy giving such a smart fellow such a hard time about his romance watches, I have to say that I am not opposed to a really well constructed romance movie. And that is what we have here. Every episode is confusing. Why are we not seeing them together in each episode? Or the passages of Christmas, birthdays, and the like?? The structure creates inherent questions that forces the viewer to be confused until they either pick up on the clues, or it all dawns as she’s dying there on the street. And for that, I give it top marks. Mainly to David Nicholls book, but also to this adaptation as well. Kudos!