Friday, 13 August 2010

Flashback: One Fine Day

The first Michelle Pfeiffer movie I saw was The Witches of Eastwick…the first time I became infatuated with her was with One Fine Day. Admittedly, it was a bit of a vicarious appreciation. My sister, who is not necessarily a cinephile, would always say One Fine Day was her favourite film and single out Michelle as her favourite actress and over time I just got into the habit of doing so too. I recently watched One Fine Day (after re-reading the book) and it’s still as charming as it was – more so probably – than it seemed to me as a child. It’s a day in the life of two single parent divorcees – George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. The two become entangled in each other’s lives over the course of a fateful day that will of course end nicely.
“Sweet” would probably be the ideal adjective to describe One Fine Day. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the nineties and I have my own predilection to the decade (come on, the nineties were good) but One Fine Day strikes me as so smart and unforced I’m not sure if the romantic genre has regressed or if my appreciation is clouded by nepotism – perhaps it’s a bit of both. The thing is, I’m usually nonplussed when it comes to the eons of charm George Clooney is supposed to exude. Well, for obvious reasons, I’m impervious but I’m usually unmoved by him. Truly, One Fine Day is Michelle’s show but George’s easiness makes his story as satisfying as hers. Of course, it would be a disservice to talk about the film without mentioning Mae Whitman and Alex D. Linz – the two child actors. The latter does seem to have the upper hand with characterisation, as Michelle's son, but both turn in pleasant performances that improve the film.
We only have a day for the most important blocs in the lives of our leads to be solved, so One Fine Day must resort to (subtle) trickery to tie up the loose ends. There’s a sweet (that word again) moment towards the end where Pfeiffer is at an important meeting while Linz makes faces against the window pane outside. Perhaps the result is unrealistic, who knows, but even in something as “trivial” as a romantic comedy Michelle is always ready to emote. Her inner struggle doesn’t bog the film down and it’s a nice indication of the issues single parents have without being too on the nose about it. It’s not a judgment on working mothers when Michelle makes her inevitable decision. One Fine Day works so well because it’s not trying to suggest any larger than life themes. It’s just a simple film about a man and a woman (and a girl and a boy). I get nostalgic when I think about One Fine Day and its unavoidable happy ending is real enough to be winsome and not maudlin. Sure, I’ll see it for Michelle Pfeiffer but it’s good for other aspects too. 
        
What do you think of One Fine Day?

4 comments:

Alex Ramon said...

Couldn't agree more, Andrew. A lovely romantic comedy, this, and very underrated.

I've seen it a few times now, and find that it holds up better than other romantic comedies that I thought were superior at the time (SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE being one example).

Twister said...

I love this movie too!

I too saw it when I was very young, and even though I didn't understand everything that was happening, it's charm won me over.

It's one of those underrated gems...

Pfan313 said...

I LOVE this movie. It's in my top5 favorite Pfilms. I'm impressed by your review. Good work!

Paul S said...

One Fine Day worked a lot better than most Hollywood fluff because the leads are so good (and so well-defined), and because Michael Hoffman is a pro at keeping everything in motion.

PS. It's been a long time between posts, is everything OK?