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A Perfect Valentine: Netflix’s ‘One Day’ is a Phantasmagoria of Chance Encounters, Puppy Love, and Self-discovery

A Perfect Valentine: Netflix’s ‘One Day’ is a Phantasmagoria of Chance Encounters, Puppy Love, and Self-discovery

  • The series with British Indian actress Ambika Mod in the lead should be savored slowly, like a tall iced latte.

I wanted to read the novel by David Nicholls on which Netflix series “One Day” is based on before watching the show. But with a name like “Emma” and a face like Ambika Mod, alongside a rather “dishy” and “devil-may-care” Leo Woodall as Dexter Mayhew, I could not wait. 

“One Day” has forged a strong connection with both viewers and critics alike. It boasts a universal appeal—not stilted, not mushy, not the same old, but fresh and engaging. The narrative and characters are as complex as life itself, thereby endearing.

Ambika Mod, the lead actress, (a British actress and comedian, daughter of Indian immigrants who grew up in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, England) immediately captured my attention with her charismatic on-screen persona, svelte body, delectable British accent, and conversational style that grows on you. Her portrayal of a young aspiring author resonated deeply with me, drawing me into her character’s journey. 

The casual banter between Emma and Dexter about their aspirations, dreams, and future plans was both endearing and thought-provoking. Em is so cerebral, even in bed, and does not hesitate to ask Dexter, “What would he like to be at 40?” It felt like witnessing the dynamics of a genuine friendship, filled with humor and depth, never losing the hot rush of a heady romance. Very old-fashioned indeed.

The chemistry between the characters, particularly during their picnic on the bluff, probably shot in Edinburgh, exuded the charm of a fairy tale romance. Ambika Mod shines in a seedy London flat in a bedroom scene, in the recesses of her own mind, as a teacher, and in a part-time job as a manager in an ethnic restaurant. Her keen intellect and self-deprecating humor come through effortlessly. 

In many ways, I felt a personal connection to her character’s struggles and aspirations, reflecting on my own journey of choosing between a passion for the arts and the practicalities of pursuing medicine as a career. Her decision to embrace her role in the show reflects the timeless allure of pursuing one’s true calling. The show’s ability to capture the essence of life’s experiences, both happy and apprehensive, is admirable.

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 “One Day” is a heady display of chance encounters, puppy love, friendship of body and mind, and self-discovery. Each episode is carefully crafted to pull you into the “blue screen.” The wonderful on-screen chemistry between the lead pair in “One Day” has made a strong connection with both viewers and critics alike. The narrative and characters are complex, like life itself, and thereby endearing. Even with a busy day job, you cannot finish it in one day or one night. 

I think the powerful portrayal of “Em,” as Dexter calls her, is something to be “unscrolled,” as Emma likes to say, and slowly savored like a tall iced latte with homemade pistachio cream. This romantic comedy is streaming on Netflix, and I am sure the review will skyrocket on Valentine’s day. I am waiting to reunite with my girlfriends from my high school days to binge-watch “One Day” with them. Maybe we can arrange a date this weekend to watch it together. I am sure we can make it happen with “one in Bangalore”, the “other in Toronto”, and yours truly back home in Alabama.

With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India, and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.

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