The HolidayBy Steven Perdue, Blockbuster.co.uk
Iris ( Kate Winslet ) and Amanda ( Cameron Diaz ) are two lovelorn singletons on opposite sides of the world. They meet online and decide to swap houses for the Christmas holidays in an effort to clear their lives of their respective problems. Once settled in they both begin to realise that love and happiness can be found in the most unexpected places…
From Nancy Meyers
, Director of What Women Want
, comes this delightfully soft-hearted romantic comedy. The Holiday is, to steal a footballing analogy, a film of two halves. The UK based, Cameron Diaz half of the film is about a smart, stylish and ultimately self involved girl learning to throw caution to the wind and accept love and all its attendant complications into her life. Diaz is on form as the strong-willed Amanda as is Jude Law
as the cocky-yet-caring lover to whom she becomes attached. Indeed Law’s Graham is super-smooth even by his standards. He neatly seduces and beds Amanda a mere two minutes after meeting her! It is not just the cast that look stunning in this half either. The UK comes off pretty well too, looking like a picture postcard of middle England at Christmas, all snowy lanes and inviting cottages. Although the fact that this idyllic setting is supposed to be a mere 40 minutes out of London does elicit a wry smile from anyone who lives near the city for real.
The second half of the film follows Iris as she sorts out her infatuation with serial love rat Jasper (played to a T by an underused Rufus Sewell
). Along the way she falls for composer Miles (an amazingly restrained Jack Black
) but has a more meaningful and interesting relationship with aging screenwriter Arthur ( Eli Wallach
). Their rapport is one of the most poignant aspects of the film it’s a platonic love affair with real chemistry. Her time with Arthur gives Iris a good schooling in classic films and the properties that make for a good female lead. Taking these lessons on-board she applies them to her own life with surprising results.
Overall The Holiday is a slick and accomplished piece of filmmaking that owes a debt to films like Four Weddings and a Funeral
and Love, Actually
. While at times it can push the sentimentality a little too far you are never too far away from a good laugh or a touching twist. If you fancy a cosy night in with a bucket of popcorn you really should add this to your list right now.