Starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, classic romantic comedy The Holiday makes for a perfect weekend binge.
It’s a tale of two women — Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet). Amanda is recouping from a failed relationship and a consequential crisis of faith; Iris is heart-broken on recently finding the man of her dreams engaged to another woman.
In the run-up to Christmas holidays, both the women are looking for a way to leave all the madness behind.
Coincidentally, they get in touch through a home exchange website, and decide to spend the holidays far away from their homes, the people they know and the sorrows they want to forget.
So, Amanda lands up in Iris’s cottage in the London suburbs, while Iris descends on Amanda’s LA mansion — a home exchange for a week.
What follows is a series of fun and charming interactions as Amanda gets to know Iris’s brother Graham (Jude Law) who drops in unexpectedly, and Iris finds delight in the company of Miles (Jack Black), Amanda’s ex-boyfriend’s friend and Arthur Abbot (Eli Wallach), Amanda’s elderly neighbour.
As they connect with the new people and situations in their respective sojourns, the two women find their way to happiness, and a fresher, more hopeful perspective on life.
Both Cameron and Kate bring their distinctive panache to the roles, lending grace and credibility to this light-hearted story.
Each time I watch the film, I laugh and smile at the same places — always delighted by how spontaneously quirky the workaholic Amanda is and how sweet and kind the simple Iris is.
The music by Hans Zimmer is uplifting, yet subtle with the restraint of the true master. It breathes in its distinctive freshness to a Nancy Myers’ story that is already warm and comforting.
The film doesn’t really dwell on a specific holiday theme, but the season of joy acts as a warm, soft background blanket to what is a sweet and enjoyable story.
The dialogues are fresh and the characters are beautifully etched out. The protagonists convincingly drive home the theme of taking a break and doing something uncharacteristic, untried, and having fun with it. As you see the two women show ‘gumption’ and take a spur of the moment decision, you feel glad you decided to ride along with them!
Watching The Holiday is pure delight; like a day in a P G Wodehouse book where things are always sunny and bright. And even if they get disarranged for a while they’ll sort themselves out in the end.
It’s a film that feels like its been made to spread good cheer and leaves you with a feel-good vibe. So much that when Miles says ‘Legend has it, when Santa Anas blows, all bets are off, anything can happen’, you want to breathe in deep like Iris does and believe that is true!
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, and are in need of a good dose of something delightful, entertaining and warm, I’d say go for it.
If you have seen it already, there’s no time like the present to revisit it.
By Aastha Madhur
Recommended: Tramps (2016) Review: Enchanting, Low-Key Romance
A self-confessed addict of overanalyzing all things onscreen. Prone to tangential thinking. An avid reader she especially loves Dickens, LOTR, and her Kindle. She is currently working on her second romance novel.