What We Did on Our Holiday
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Writer: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Cast: Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull, Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Celia Imrie, Ben Miller
Abi (Rosamund Pike) and Doug (David Tennant) are in the tricky part of their divorce where they can’t even stand to be in the same room together. Nevertheless they decide to pack up their three kids – Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smallridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) – and celebrate Doug’s father Gordy’s (Billy Connolly) birthday together like nothing happened. Which certainly isn’t easy for the kids, since they have to keep up the lies as well. But in the commotion surrounding Gordy’s birthday, nobody but Gordy himself seems to notice them anyway.
I expected What We Did on Our Holiday to be this classic RomCom, mostly about the parents and how they find back to each other. I was quite surprised when it turned out that it was actually about the kids and then it even took a turn into dark humor. And I liked the result a lot more than I would have liked the usual.
I think what I loved most about What We Did on Our Holiday is that it took its children seriously without ever forgetting that they are children. They do have their personalities, but they are not mini-adults – which is rather hard to pull off. But in a film like this that is mostly about how much these children get overlooked in divorce proceedings, despite of how distressing they are for them, it is bitterly necessary that the children work.
And they do, which is also due to the wonderful performances by all three of them. And since it’s always a challenge to work with children, I extend this compliment to Hamilton and Jenkin who not only knew how to write the characters, but also how to cast the right actors and direct them well. (The rest of the cast is wonderful, too, but the kids are the show runners here.)
But the kids aren’t the only thing about the film that I loved. The sense of humor was wonderful and saved a movie about children in divorce proceedings from being a rather trite affair. Sometimes I laughed while I sniffled, sometimes I sniffled while I laughed.
But altogether I left the cinema feeling a little lighter than I had before and with a huge grin plastered on my face. And that’s just as it should be.