Wednesday, December 17, 2008
At its core The Holiday is a film about Iris and Amanda. It’s Christmas time and Iris, a columnist from England is heartbroken to discover Jasper the man that has been leading her on for two years is engaged to one of her coworkers and didn’t even have the decency to tell her before making the announcement. In the states Amanda makes movie trailers and has just dumped her boyfriend Ethan for cheating on her with his secretary. Both women are devastated and don’t want to stay home for the holidays; through chance Amanda finds that Iris has listed her home on a home exchange website and the women decided to switch houses for the holiday. Iris heads to Hollywood and meets Miles a film composer who seems to have her luck in love, and Arthur who is Amanda’s elderly neighbor and a prolific screenwriter from a Hollywood era long gone. In England Amanda meets Graham, Amanda’s brother and the two hit it off only for Amanda to discover that he is a widower with two small daughters. Both women begin complicated relationships with the men – Amanda’s romantic and Iris’s at first purely friendship with both men, at first.
I do have to say that I have nothing against the characters in England but the storyline of Iris, Miles and Arthur are my favorite part of the movie. Not only do I love the old Hollywood influence in the story but I find Iris to be the character that I can empathize with the most. I also adore Kate Winslet and Jack Black together which I didn’t think was possible. It’s an odd pairing but it’s kind of like Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, once you see Billy Crystal in the role you can’t imagine anyone else playing that – I think Jack Black did that in The Holiday. I think Kate Winslet needs to be in more movies. I love watching her act.
I really think that The Holiday is just a really good film, not just a holiday film. It is able to transcend it’s categorization because it uses the time of the year as a catalyst, not as an overarching theme by which the movie is driven.
Director & Writer: Nancy Meyers
Amanda: Cameron Diaz
Iris: Kate Winslet
Graham: Jude Law
Miles: Jack Black
Arthur Abbott: Eli Wallach
Ethan: Edward Burns
Jasper: Rufus Sewell
Maggie: Shannyn Sossamon
Arthur Abbott: Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake! Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained things to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.