LONDON (Reuters) - British film critics have poured scorn on U.S. actress Anne Hathaway for her northern English accent in the movie “One Day,” calling it variously “another Hollywood stinker” and “all over the shop.”
“The Devil Wears Prada” and “Rachel Getting Married” star said she had worked with a dialect coach to get the voice of Yorkshire “lass” Emma right in the film based on David Nicholls’ popular novel.
She also told the BBC that she watched the popular British television soap opera “Emmerdale,” set in Yorkshire, to train for the part.
The preparation did not pay off in many viewers’ eyes, however, as critics queued up to pounce on her pronunciation of a notoriously tricky accent.
“The Oscar-nominated actress’s every line is masked by one of the most honkingly rubbish Yorkshire accents you’ve ever heard,” wrote Robbie Collin in the Telegraph newspaper.
The review drew comparisons between Hathaway as Emma and Dick Van Dyke as Bert the London cockney in “Mary Poppins,” deemed one of the worst ever offenses against a British accent on the big screen.
Jan Moir of the Daily Mail questioned Hathaway’s suitability for the role in One Day, arguing that she is far too glamorous to pull it off.
As for the accent, she added: “Just like nothing can camouflage Hathaway’s incandescent beauty in One Day, nothing can hide the awfulness of her fake Yorkshire accent.
“Really, it is quite something to behold. For it is a nomadic accent - it was born under a wandering star. It’s all over the shop.”
Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian was kinder on Hathaway’s delivery, saying “it’s not as terrible as all that” in a two-out-of-five star review.
But he went on to liken the actress to “Geoff Boycott in drag,” a reference to the famous former Yorkshire cricketer renowned for his thick accent and gruff demeanour.
Some commentators have stuck up for Hathaway, with the Evening Standard’s Henry Hitchings arguing that British audiences are too proprietorial about their accents.
He also said that Hathaway’s “nomadic” accent could be a deliberate way of portraying her character’s “anxieties about her fragile, transitional existence.”
Last year Hollywood star Russell Crowe was the target of some derision for his accent in blockbuster “Robin Hood,” and walked out of a radio interview after it was suggested his character sounded like “an Irishman who took frequent holidays in Australia.”
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison