Image description: One Day
Image description: One Day


One Day: A journey of Love and Pain

One Day is beautiful in its softness, its loudness, its multifaceted love, and painful heartbreak.

Apr 1, 2024

Rating: 4.5/5
There is a specific moment in One Day when you will start ugly crying.
It is the scene of Dexter stumbling through a hallway shrouded in darkness, while Jeff Buckley’s Lilac Wine breathes glorious melancholy into the scene.
Make sure the tissues are within reach.
One Day is just that: a story of (mostly) one day — 15th July, St. Swithin’s Day — in the lives of Emma Morley (played by Ambika Mod) and Dexter Mayhew (portrayed by Leo Woodall), told over ten years. After the success of the book and its movie adaptation came One Day the series, created by Nicole Taylor.
Dexter is rich, suave, and dashingly charismatic — traits that naturally lead him to a career in television before things turn sour. Emma is fiercely brilliant, yet unconvinced of it. driven in her pursuit of a writing career, and endearingly dry-witted (she is adept at dishing out equal dollops of scathing indictments and tender encouragement). Their impending friends-to-lovers relationship is not always one you might find yourself rooting for, which incidentally becomes one of the series’ shining strengths.
Like the characters, the relationship itself is frustratingly real: it meanders, prompts viewers to harbor their doubts, and has some raw flaws that surface almost jarringly. And yet, some aspects instantly win you over. The characters’ crackling chemistry is one. Another is the creators’ ability to take every filming location’s distinctiveness — Edinburgh’s charm, London’s hubbub, Greece’s tranquility, Paris’ glamor — and infuse into them a certain ethereal intimacy that makes scenes such as a grueling climb to Arthur’s Seat seem deliciously dreamlike.
The dialogue is passionate without bordering on syrupy and entirely suited to each character (case in point: Emma saying, “I will eat your heart”). The music is brilliant, a delightful blur of the Pixies, Vivaldi, Cornershop, and more, and impeccably underscores every emotion left undescribed.
The performances are the indubitable highlight. Leo Woodall adds a winning sincerity to a character that is not always likable. He is wonderful in his portrayal of the golden boy’s fall from grace, and shines in especially painful scenes where his character loses grace but his charm allows us to not completely “cancel” him. Ambika Mod is magnificent: she is vulnerable one minute and restrained the next, while myriad emotions flit across her eyes. She brings a certain fire to Emma, a warmth to accompany the patronizing demeanor that any viewer would embrace.
What is especially commendable about the series is the South Asian portrayal of Emma. She is never stereotyped or tokenized, and her heritage is neither referenced as an explanation for her actions nor brushed under the rug. She is allowed to just be: to be flawed, three-dimensional, desired, loved, and celebrated.
One Day is beautiful in its softness, its loudness, its multifaceted love, and its painful heartbreak. It is one of those rare gems that stay with you for long after the end of the one day you watch it from beginning to end.
Malavika Rajesh is Deputy Features Editor. Email them at
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