Friday, 18 January 2013

Dexter Mayhew: the crush, and the unbearable tragedy

While dumping off a load of old toys and clothes at our local charity shop early last December, I stumbled upon a tattered looking DVD, with a man and woman kissing on the front cover.

I hastily bought it, figuring it might save me from having to watch Apocalypse Now later that night – something Tom had threatened earlier.  But realistically I imagined that even if I did manage to persuade my husband to watch a rom-com, we would get about 15 minutes in and end up falling asleep.

Just over a month later I have now watched this film eleven times, and even Tom has watched it four times (although probably not through choice, and he has started to give me odd looks at my continued persistence with it). 

Almost every scene is either heart-stopping, tear-jerking, or goose-bump-inducing. But it was the Paris scene, where Dexter and Emma finally fall into each others' arms, which was probably one of the best moments of my life (bar marrying my husband and the birth of my children, of course). And then the almost unbearable tragedy happens, for which I will never forgive the writer.  Why couldn't Em and Dex just have a baby or three and live happily ever after?  Why?

This film has taken over my life.  This is mainly down to it being an amazing love story which leaves you alternately weeping, drooling, and screaming at the screen.  But also because I have a bit of a crush on the main character, Dexter Mayhew.  The other main character, Emma (Anne Hathaway) isn't bad either.

I haven't had a crush like this since my Nick Berry fixation when I was 14 years old. I am now 38 and have an obsession with a fictional character from a film. At least Nick Berry was a real person.

A friend of mine pointed out that Dexter and Tom are pretty similar in looks and sound - that melt-your-heart public schoolboy hair and accent. I also think perhaps this love story reminds me of mine and Tom's journey, before we had our  'Paris moment' - which for us happened in Pizza Express in Paddington. Before this, Tom and I spent years being best friends, with lots of missed opportunities, just like Emma and Dexter. How on earth Tom and I didn't realise our love for each other, way back when, as he fed me chicken McNuggets dipped in barbecue sauce, sitting in Budgens car park in West London, I will never know.

During a typical day, it's not unusual for me to watch the film (sometimes on loop if it's the night of Tom's Tai Chi class), listen to the soundtrack and the unabridged audio book, and gaze at photos of Dexter on Google images.

I play the soundtrack while cooking the kids' dinner or hanging out the washing. This way I can replay the film in my head while gazing tearfully through wet clothes and steaming carrots. I am often met with shouts of "TURN IT DOWN!" from my exasperated family, while they try to eat their breakfast.

Towards the end of the film Dexter opens up a cafĂ©/deli between Archway and Highgate - this is an area I know particularly well, and I was positively thrilled that Dex and I have probably pounded the same pavements. I thought about going off to find this deli in the hope that Dexter might be there.  I could tell him how sorry I am for his loss and give him a big hug.  And with his knee-weakening handsome grin and that voice, he might serve me a latte and a chocolate brownie. But then I have to remind myself that neither the deli nor the characters are real.

It is the character and not the actor that I am in love with (sorry Jim Sturgess). Having said this, I have undertaken a bit of Jim Sturgess Twitter-stalking, and I have just ordered another film where he is the lead role - just in case there's another film out there which I might be able to obsess over. 

But I fear I am setting myself up for disappointment. There will never be another One Day - and it is without doubt the best fifty pence I have ever spent.


Iota said...

I was recently lent the book and the dvd. I determined to read the book first, and I'm glad I did. I could NOT put it down. I read it in a week-end - hardly spoke to anyone for two days. Totally absorbing. Then I was - predictably - disappointed in the film, which seemed very lightweight in comparison.

I didn't like the ending either - but it does come across better in the book.

I can't bear Anne Hathaway. Not in any film. She was more bearable in this one than in anything else I've seen with her - but only just. I was so busy concentrating on whether or not I was disliking Anne Hathaway as much as usual, that I didn't pay much attention to Dexter.

Elsie Button said...

I just finished the book tonight, while staring at a picture of dexter on google images! The ending although still awful, I agree was slightly easier to deal with in the book. I still cried tho. I do think that Jim Sturgess pulled off the character perfectly :).

nappy valley girl said...

I loved the book, but hadn't bothered with the film as everyone told me it was really disappointing. But having read your post, maybe I'll give it a try!

Elsie Button said...

I think because I watched the film first I didn't really have anything to be disappointed about - I had no expectations as had never even heard of it! And I LOVED it, as you know!!! I then read the book and it filled in all the blanks, and was totally gripped. Am about to read it again. I think I have a problem. Can you recommend any other good books to help me move away from this obsession?!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Well. I was about to suggest therapy for your obsession and then i read that there's a BOOK! now I feel myself teetering dangerously on the edge of the obsession precipice (phew, pulled that metaphor back from the edge, ooo, see what I did there?)

But I do HATE that feeling of being obsessed by something, it's very draining. So, I feel your pain but I'm still going to suggest a little therapy :-)

You're about to get a mini mention on my blog as the brains behind the name for my latest recipe!

Chow! (ha ha, you'll see why I spelt it like that if you visit my blog!)

Always a pleasure Miss B. Particularly your mention of Budgens. Tom sure knows how to treat a lady right ...

Anonymous said...

This is on my 'to read' list, so had to skim over this post! Looks like it's had an amazing effect on you,

Great blog!

nappy valley girl said...

Have you read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? Really enjoyed it and so did everyone at my book club. Will give you an alternative take on romantic relationships! (Or there's always Fifty Shades of Grey...)

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

Why is it that everyone suddenly starts talking of this book again? I never read it but it sounds like it's screaming at me that I should do, so I am off to download it on Kindle right now and I will have to blame you lot of it takes over my life ;)

Elsie Button said...

Hi Pig, I am glad you appreciated the Budgens reference!

Hi Chiswick mum, yes do read it, it is amazing!

Hi NVG, thank you, will def track this book down - anything to make me move on!

Hi PHM, it is prob just me talking about it - I think I am the only one on the planet to have missed the book when it came out! Enjoy!


Elliotandme said...

Haven't seen the film but LOVED the book.... going to go get the film this weekend, though not sure I'm ready for the tears.

Great blog! xx

Elsie Button said...

Let me know what you! Xx

Elsie Button said...


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Rach Tea said...

Elsie! Have you ever seen 21? Jim sturgess is in that and it's brilliant!

I enjoyed one day but Anne Hathaways accent just grates on me so much...especially when she says "fun" and then goes a little Irish at some points!
Anyway, I have borrowed the book from my Mum and can't wait to read it!

Rach (the one with the love of ice cream cakes on Pinterest!) xx