28 July 2013

The Holiday (starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz)

According to the IMDb site, there are several films with this unremarkable title. The one which Amazon recommended to me a while ago, and which we recently enjoyed very much, is the 2006 film ‘The Holiday’, with quite a high profile cast.

Kate Winslet stars as Iris, a somewhat shy newspaper columnist in the UK who has a tremendous crush on one of her colleagues. He knows this, but plays around with her emotions until making a dramatic announcement that he is getting engaged to another of their colleagues shortly before Christmas.

Cameron Diaz also stars, as Amanda: an outgoing and highly emotional movie-trailer maker in Los Angeles. She has a huge fight with her boyfriend and throws him out of her luxurious mansion, then decides to take a complete break somewhere quiet. She discovers Iris’s cottage on a house-sharing website, and proposes a swap...

So the scene is set, and the two young women fly across the Atlantic to each other’s homes. Iris is overwhelmed by Amanda’s amazing home, while Amanda is decidedly underwhelmed by the cosiness of Iris’s cottage, and the extreme chilliness of a British winter. Amanda is on the verge of giving up and flying home when she meets Iris’s brother Graham (Jude Law), and they find themselves strongly attracted to each other... although it seems that Graham has several women in his life already.

Meanwhile Iris gets to know her 90-year-old neighbour Arthur (Eli Wallach) who is feeling rather useless despite having had an amazing career in the past. He helps her move beyond her loneliness and she helps him see that he still has a great deal to give. Iris also meets Miles (Jack Black) and they become good friends before - inevitably - deciding that they, too, are falling in love.

It’s typical rom-com, of course with some amusing moments and a predictable, somewhat slushy feel-good ending. There are some quite emotional scenes, too. My only slight niggle is that Cameron Diaz’s character is very over-acted and caricatured - perhaps it makes sense in the initial Hollywood scenes, but she seems to have little of substance or intelligence, and it’s hard to reconcile her with the quiet, loyal and very likeable Graham.

Still, overall we thought this was wonderful stuff, just what I like for a cosy evening in, even if it happens to be the end of July rather than the middle of Winter.

Rated 12 in the UK, PG-13 in the US, I think that’s about right. There are one or two instances of bad language and some significant talk about intimacies. It’s not the sort of film that would appeal to younger children anyway.

Definitely recommended for adults and older teens.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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