Re-Watch: The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell, Kathryn Hahn, John Krasinski, Shannyn Sossamon, Bill Macy
Seen on: 10.10.2020

English Iris (Kate Winslet) is apparently the last to know that her long-time crush and colleague Jasper (Rufus Sewell) is getting married to somebody else. Frustrated, she decides to leave on short notice for the Christmas holidays and puts her house online for a house swap. Almost immediately she gets a reply from USAmerican Amanda (Cameron Diaz), a movie trailer editor who just kicked out her unfaithful boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns) and could use a break herself. They make the change and Amanda finds herself in Iris’ quaint little cottage in the middle of nowhere, when Iris’ brother Graham (Jude Law) knocks on her door, while Iris takes up residence in Amanda’s LA mansion and meets her neighbor Arthur (Eli Wallach), an ageing script writer, as well as composer Miles (Jack Black) who comes to pick up Ethan’s stuff. The change of scenery and the new acquaintances impact both women a lot.

I have seen The Holiday many years ago – too many to remember many details, so it struck me as a good opportunity to re-watch it. And it absolutely is a wonderful RomCom, albeit not reaching its full potential. Nevertheless it was exactly the kind of fluff content I was looking for.

The film poster showing Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Graham (Jude Law) above the film title and Iris (Kate Winslet) and Miles (Jack Black) below it.

The Holiday is not a perfect film. Some moments that are supposed to be funny, fall pretty flat (like the haha moment that Amanda has to carry her luggage through the snow in high heels because her cab won’t drive all the way to the cottage, which becomes even weirder when we later see cars drivingup to the cottage, no problem). And sometimes the characterization is a little lacking. Graham only becomes more than the tropey sum of his parts because Jude Law brings his considerable charm to the role. Cameron Diaz doesn’t quite manage the same for Amanda.

That being said, I still liked Amanda and Graham – as I liked Iris, Miles and Arthur. Neither of them is a very complex character (except maybe Iris who also gets to grow the most), but that’s just par for the course for a comedy. What’s important is that the connection between the characters work – and they did for the most part. Maybe between Amanda and Graham even more than between Iris and Miles, but that’s probably just because we seem to spend more time with them.

Amanda (Cameron Diaz) leaning close to kiss Graham (Jude Law) in his car.

But I have to admit that the film came most alive whenever Amanda and Iris were in touch. It was a pity that they don’t communicate all that much, but the scene in the end where they finally meet in person – that was gratifying as hell. (As was the rest of the ending, don’t get me wrong.)

So, while the film could have been honed and polished a little more, overall it is definitely good enough to entertain for its runtime and to leave with you with a warm holiday feeling. If that’s what you’re looking for, go for it.

Iris (Kate Winslet) on the phone.

Summarizing: Sweet.

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