"Two Love Stories for the Price of One"
What You Need To Know:
THE HOLIDAY is a charming romantic comedy with witty, heartwarming dialogue. The leads have nice, funny lines to say. Eli Wallach gives an outstanding performance as the elderly screenwriter. Regrettably, the relationship between Amanda and Graham is based on sex. THE HOLIDAY also contains plenty of foul language, including one “f” word. Finally, there are no positive references to Jesus, although the movie is set during Christmas.
(Pa, Ro, B, LLL, V, S, N, AA, M) Mixed pagan worldview with pagan elements, Romantic elements and moral elements; one “f” word, two “h” words, two as- words, one “s” word, one use of the word “pric-,” and 19 light profanities, such as “My God!”; light violence when woman punches man twice; implied fornication and talk about fornication, plus woman lives with man when movie opens; upper male nudity in one scene; alcohol use and drunkenness in one scene, and unseen drunkenness on another night is discussed the next morning; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.
THE HOLIDAY is a romantic comedy that wears its charm on its sleeve. Writer and director Nancy Meyers (THE PARENT TRAP and FATHER OF THE BRIDE as writer only) once again displays a deft hand at creating charming characters.
The Christmas season has arrived. In London, we find Iris, elegantly played by Kate Winslet, hoping to win the affections of Jason Bloom, a charming co-worker at London’s Daily Telegraph. She has found her friend irresistible for three years but, so far, is a victim of unrequited love. At the office Christmas party comes the announcement that Jason is engaged, and Iris is devastated.
Meanwhile, across the pond in Los Angeles, we meet Amanda, beautifully played by Carmen Diaz in probably her best performance to date. She is a successful business owner who shares her home with her love interest. However, this romance is doomed because Amanda is too preoccupied with her career, and the relationship comes to an abrupt end.
An ocean apart, these two women have an identical thought. They need to get away and go on a good vacation to help them get over their heartaches. They meet on an Internet house-swapping site. The next day Iris and Amanda are on their way to each other’s home for the swap. This is where the double-icious fun begins.
Amanda is getting settled in Iris’ home in London when Graham, played with exquisite charm and heart by Jude Law, knocks on the door. He is Iris’ handsome brother, and he and a now very uninhibited Amanda immediately hit it off.
Back in Los Angeles, Miles, a friend of Amanda’s former boyfriend played surprisingly well by a subdued but still hilarious Jack Black, shows up to pick up the boyfriend’s computer. Iris makes him come back the next day to get it, and the two begin a nice friendship. Miles’ witty personality grows on Iris, but their relationship is stunted when Jason, her unrequited love, makes a surprise visit to see her.
While the winds of change are blowing, Iris spots an elderly gentleman with a walker going down the street who appears to be lost. She stops to help him and discovers that he is Arthur Abbott, a famous screenwriter from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The introduction of this character lends comedy and a touch of nostalgia to the story. Iris discovers that the Writers Guild of America wants to honor Arthur with an award, but he wants nothing to do with it. He feels that that no one today would be interested in him, and that his failing health would only be an added embarrassment. Iris, being a Good Samaritan, helps him to work out physically and improve his condition. This changes his mind about attending the event, and the ceremony turns out to be a huge success, deeply touching Arthur.
In England, Amanda is falling for Graham, but believes that their relationship could only be temporary because of the huge geographical distance between them. Also, Graham has a surprising secret he’s been keeping to himself. Amanda suspects something, but she thinks that, when she finds out the truth, she won’t like it.
The question becomes, then, can these two budding romances overcome the obstacles set against them?
Despite its length (135 minutes), THE HOLIDAY is a charming romantic comedy with witty, heartwarming dialogue. The leads have nice, funny lines to say, and Eli Wallach gives an outstanding performance as the elderly screenwriter. Once again, Nancy Meyers displays her fondness for the great screenwriters of the Golden Age of Hollywood, which she did with such aplomb in IRRECONCILIABLE DIFFERENCES, a movie written with her ex-husband and ex-partner Charles Shyer in 1984. Nancy and Charles worked together on THE PARENT TRAP, the new FATHER OF THE BRIDE movies with Steve Martin, and PRIVATE BENJAMIN with Goldie Hawn.
Regrettably, the relationship between Amanda and Graham is based on sex. THE HOLIDAY also contains plenty of mostly light foul language, including one “f” word. Finally, there are no positive references to Jesus, although the movie is set during Christmas.