Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Holiday (2006)

The HolidayNancy Meyers' "The Holiday" has been seriously dissed by most of America's film critics--including one who suggested that any man who goes to see it should be forced to pay with a crucial part of his anatomy instead of money. "The Holiday" is indeed a prime example of what is condecendingly known as a "chick flick," and it's not a movie you can make great claims for. But "The Holiday" succeeds outstandingly in living up to its title; it provides an audience with a two-hour vacation filled with charming, likable actors playing charming, likable characters. The movie is set during the Christmas holidays in which two women with man problems--Iris (Kate Winslet), an English journalist, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), an L.A. producer of film trailers--meet over the Internet. On a whim, they decide to switch houses for Christmas; Amanda ends up in Iris's picture-postcard-pretty cottage in Surrey, Iris in Amanda's luxurious, gated mansion in Beverly Hills. There, they discover new romantic complications: Amanda with Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris with a film composer named Miles (Jack Black). There's also a subplot about the friendship that develops between Iris and an elderly screenwriter played by the venerable Eli Wallach. Nothing that happens in the movie is at all original or consequential. I could even quibble about an inaccuracy or two in Meyers' screenplay (Cary Grant was from Bristol in Gloucestershire, not Surrey). But seeing "The Holiday" makes you feel happy and light of heart, which is all it sets out to do. While the film's appeal is necessarily greater for women, I also think most men will find this a more-than-serviceable date movie. Sometimes you want a movie that's rich, gooey and sweet, that contains no sharp edges and requires no sharp utensils for its consumption. In an increasingly abrasive world, the need for cinematic confections is greater than ever, and "The Holiday" fills that bill.

Two women. Two failed relationships. Two houses. One great romantic comedy. The Holiday is the story of two women, Iris (Kate Winslet in a poignant performance) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who swap houses for two weeks thinking it will help them get over their relationship problems. Amanda will take Iris's house in a small cottage just outside of London, and Iris will stay at Amanda's house in L.A. They will both meet someone who will help them mend their heart.

Let's get one thing out of the way: Yes, this is a chick flick, but a damn fine one at that! I'm not much of a fan of the genre, nor of Nancy Meyers' films, but when I saw this in theatres with my girlfriend last December, I loved it. I thought the film would've lost some of its charm on second viewing, but it hasn't lost one bit of it. With a running time of 136 minutes, you'd think it would drag but it feels like a 90-minute film.

The film has a few surprises and most of all, a great subplot around Arthur's (screen veteran Eli Wallach in a brilliant performance) character. The film goes back and forth between the two relationships, the one in the UK and the one in the US, which gives it a great rhythm. Nothing seems forced and it doesn't fall into the typical clichés of the genre. The dialogue is very well written, kudos to Meyers for that. The characters are interesting; Winslet (my favorite actress) shines in her role as Iris, the girl who falls for the wrong man. I usually avoid movies starring Cameron Diaz and/or Jack Black like the plague, but they were both really good in that one. Jude Law brought some class to his role. The supporting cast was very good (keep your eyes open for a cameo by a famous actor in the video store).

Overall, The Holiday is a very enjoyable film and you don't have to love romantic comedies to enjoy it. It's closer to Something's Gotta Give than What Women Want, and it's much better this way. Check it out, you won't be sorry!

Buy The Holiday (2006) Now

I don't think this decade has had much success with romantic comedies, but trust me that with "The Holiday", the 2000s have never looked better. I consider this film to be one that extracts the finest performances from Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz EVER, and once you see it, you will know what I mean.

Kate Winslet has acted in many good movies ("Hideous Kinky", "Holy Smoke", "Iris") but its ironic that her most poignant and well-written role comes in "The Holiday". You probably know the story already its about two women on two different continents who swap houses and lives after a chance meeting on the Internet but the treatment and above all, the DIALOGUE, is what drives this romantic comedy to the heights of that most rare animal a cinema classic.

And thats what "The Holiday" is. I honestly think that a genuine, feel-good film such as this should be embraced by the Oscar group, instead of their focus on typical epic films such as "Babel" and "Gladiator". This is where the magic is. Cameron Diaz especially, has never found a better vehicle for her goofy charm (yes, this is even better staggeringly better than "There's Something About Mary"). Jude Law, who has had his share of incredible dramatic performances in films such as "Wilde" and "Alfie", uses his effortless charm and natural screen presence to radiate such magnetism, that he is undeniably the most spot-on best romantic lead you would have seen for a while.

Audiences I saw this with claimed that "The Holiday" was at least twice as better than "Pretty Woman". No comparison. The films I consider really good romantic comedies would be "Never Been Kissed", "A Life Less Ordinary" and "Theres Something About Mary". However, "The Holiday" is all that, but the amazing thing is that it has a heart of gold and does NOT rely upon slapstick humor to make the dialogue and situations work.

Kate Winslets' character in fact, is one worth coming back to and studying, even from a film students' perspective. She infuses her role with so much wit and warmth, that we do not mind if this girl even ends up single in the movie we just want her to find herself. The scene where she dumps her boyfriend after three years of emotional abuse is absolutely wondrous the actress glows and gives off such electric spark that its impossible not to FEEL for this beautiful character.

Jack Black, in a superb cinematic role as a Hollywood music industry biggie, is never meant to be taken seriously as a love interest for Kate, much as some would like to think so. Their sad tale is of two people in two different bad relationships finding a friend again I loved how the end of this movie did not strive to hurriedly bring two people together rather, it allows space for the characters to breathe and live their emotions, which is why its so easy to take this film seriously, and which is why you MUST watch it.

Finally a film worth buying! I have waited so long for a movie of such depth, grace and respect for the art of film-making.

There are so many amazing scenes here Kate in her quaint cottage trying to commit suicide (a poignant moment filled with humor and grief all at the same time), Kate waking up in the lap of luxury in Los Angeles, the initial meeting between Cameron and Jude and their wondrous chemistry, the moment where they realize they are in love with each other, the moment where Cameron meets Jude's kids, and her ultimate realization that her selfish, unloving persona has been undone by this mans' love and the scene where she leaves it all behind to run back to the person she loves the most. There are SO many such moments during this movie. Consider this a return to form for Hollywood in general.

I would especially like to thank the makers of "The Holiday". I don't know if any of them read Amazon reviews, but as a critic of film, I find it so hard to like so many of the "serious" films out there today. Most of them are made to win Oscars, and then there are those tailormade to win Academy Awards. Either way, they're made to win something. And then you have the disposable comedies of the "Scary Movie" variety. But a film such as this makes me realize that the glory days of the 1950s and 60s of Hollywood still exist.

I must also state here that I only saw this film because I saw that it starred Kate Winslet. This is one actress that has never let me down throughout her amazing career and to find that she gave her best ever performance in this film made me all the more happier. She takes a beaten down, funnily written character and transforms her into a woman of great intelligence and feeling this is NOT Bridget Jones' Diary!

Which is why its obvious why these stars signed up for a movie such as this. On the face of it, "The Holiday" is a two-story arc that converges into one in the end about the love lives of two very different women. But it is so much more than that in fact, it is a meditation on love and hope in this day and age.

If my praise seems extravagant, all I can say is, buy this. Do not rent it, buy it. It is the pinnacle of working excellence for all three major stars Jude, Kate and Cameron, and it is by far the best romantic comedy of the 2000s by a long shot. Also, I find it hard to believe that anything more amazing than this would be released anytime this year.

Highly Recommended. Five Stars. Hollywood finally redeems itself and gets it right.

Read Best Reviews of The Holiday (2006) Here

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet star as women who are simultaneously suffering from man troubles, and want to get away for a while for the holdays. Through a web site, they agree to swap homes for the holidays Amanda (Cameron Diaz) ends up in a storybook cottage outside London, while Iris (Kate Winslet) finds herself in an L.A. mansion.

The movie unfolds as two movies, cutting back and forth between their stories. Amanda meets Iris's brother, Graham (Jude Law), who turns out to be unexpectingly different than any other man she's ever met. Meanwhile, Iris meets Miles (Jack Black), a funny goofball of a guy who helps Iris lighten up and stop pining for the man who will never love her.

Want The Holiday (2006) Discount?

"The Holiday" is a cute, romantic movie about two women, Amanda and Iris (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet), who both find themselves royally screwed over by the men in their lives. Amanda and Iris connect via a housing-swap Web site and agree to switch houses for two weeks in order to escape during the holidays. Amanda heads to England, where she is immediately swept off her feet by Iris's charming brother, Graham (Jude Law). Meanwhile, Iris arrives in L.A. and is blown away by Amanda's posh lifestyle. She befriends an elderly neighbor (Eli Wallach) who is a retired Hollywood screenwriter, and ultimately finds an unexpected new love interest in Miles (Jack Black), a film composer.

This is a fun little movie. I enjoyed the Amanda/Graham scenes most of all. Diaz and Law have excellent chemistry and make a great on-screen pair. I am a huge fan on Winslet and she did a great job in the film as well, but the scenes with her really dragged on a bit in the beginning. There were too many scenes where Iris was just sitting around lamenting about her cad of an ex-boyfriend. My other major beef with this film is that I do not understand why Jack Black is in it. Was no one else available? I have no problem with Black, but this just isn't his type of role, and there was absolutely no romantic spark of any kind between him and Winslet.

In spite of its few flaws, I still enjoyed "The Holiday" very much. It's a sweet romantic comedy that will make you laugh and smile.

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