Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
It was the weekend before Christmas and my shopping was done. The gifts were all wrapped, decorations all up and the cookies all baked...oh, what fun. Now all that I wanted was some relaxation with a holiday movie, preferably something I'd never seen before...now wouldn't that be groovy. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but The Holiday, a movie I'd not seen once this year...or any year for that matter. Okay, you've suffered enough with the silly rhyming, so on with the review:
The Holiday stars Kate Winslet as Iris Simpkins, a society column editor for a newspaper in London. For the past three years, Iris has been hopelessly in love with Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell), a fellow writer more concerned with loving himself than anyone else. When Jasper surprises everyone, including Iris, by announcing his engagement to another employee at the newspaper at their office Christmas party, it's the last straw for Iris.
After a good cry and a quick thought of suicide, Iris decides she is going to do something crazy. She's going to go on her first vacation. Iris puts up an online ad, offering to swap her modest home in England with someone else interested in taking on a different life for a while. She finds that someone in Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz), a movie trailer producer who has just discovered that her musician boyfriend (Ed Burns) has been cheating on her. After throwing him out of her home, she decides that she, too, needs a vacation and, after seeing Iris' ad, realizes she can't get much further from Los Angeles than England. The two agree to swap lives for a week or two.
At first Amanda is disenchanted with her decision to spend her downtime in a small rural home, completely opposite from her fast-paced life in her L.A. mansion, but a late night visitor (Jude Law) changes her mind. Iris has no problem dealing with the extravagant L.A. home with its shelves of books and movies, giant pool and other luxuries. That is, no problem until Jasper calls her, reminding her of the depression she was longing to escape. She begins to sink back into that depression when she meets two interesting people (Eli Wallach and Jack Black) who become very special to her.
Yes, The Holiday is a chick flick and I am not big on chick flicks, but for some reason I found this film to be quite enjoyable. The characters of Iris and Amanda were both people that viewers can associate with on different levels and, though the scenario is a bit far-fetched, viewers will find themselves rooting for their happiness. More than once I found myself yelling at the screen, berating Iris for listening to Jasper and Amanda for trying to walk away from happiness with Graham.
What I was expecting to be simply a break from the hectic holiday season turned out to be an enjoyable watch with some really great acting and a nice message that doesn't just fit in with the holidays. I definitely recommend The Holiday to women looking for a romantic comedy. This would make the perfect movie to watch in front of the fireplace while snuggling up with a special someone.