“The Holiday” is a charming story about two young women whose romantic situations are less than perfect. The film was produced and directed by Nancy Meyers who has an extensive portfolio of successful films with which she has been associated. The soundtrack in this awesome film features 22 musical pieces written by Hans Zimmer.
Cameron Diaz - Wikimedia
Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) is a successful young businesswoman who owns a company which produces movie trailers for the public. She has a beautiful home in the Los Angeles area and a live-in boyfriend named Ethan (Ed Burns). As the Christmas season approached, Amanda learned that Ethan has been unfaithful to her and she asked him to leave. Amanda is unable to shed tears since the day when she was 15 years old and her parents informed her, an only child, that they were getting divorced. Amanda sensed that she needed a vacation and googled possibilities on her computer for getting away for two weeks.
Meanwhile, Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet), an editor with The Daily Telegraph in London, has been madly in love with her co-worker Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell) for over three years. Jasper is writing a book and needs Iris to edit his work and provide suggestions. At an office party, Iris’ boss asked her to announce a surprise engagement between two of the staff, Jasper and Sara. Iris was stunned at the news as she and Jasper had a close relationship which she felt would eventually lead to marriage. She listed her home, called Rosehill Cottage, which is in Surrey, England, with the prospect of trading houses with someone for two weeks, so that she might get away during the Christmas holidays.
Kate Winslet - Wikimedia
Amanda Goes to Surrey, England
Amanda spotted Iris’ home on Google and contacted her. The women agreed to swap houses for two weeks. Amanda arrived in Surrey, England. Rosehill Cottage was rather small but was all she needed. Later that evening, someone knocked on her door. It was Iris’ brother Graham (Jude Law) who did not know that his sister had rented out her cottage. He often slept over at Iris’ house when he spent a late night at the pub so he would not have to make the long ride home. He and Amanda were immediately attracted to each other. The next morning, Graham received several calls from people named Sophie and Olivia, and Amanda assumed that Graham was a womanizer.
Iris Goes to Los Angeles, California
Meanwhile, Iris had located Amanda’s mansion on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and was thrilled at the accommodations she was dealt. The rooms were huge and well-appointed, and a swimming pool was at her disposal. When she went out for a walk, she spotted an elderly man with a walker, who appeared to be confused about his surroundings. It was 90-year-old Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach), a former screenwriter in Hollywood in earlier times. He was actually Amanda’s neighbor but had lost his bearings and could not find his way home. Arthur and Iris became friends. The next morning, Iris answered a knock at the door to find a young man who introduced himself as Miles. His girlfriend Maggie was with him. Miles was sent to Amanda’s house to pick up Ethan’s laptop which he had left behind. Iris asked Miles to come back the next morning after she checked with Amanda’s assistant, which he did. As they spoke, the wind blew something in Iris’ eye and Miles was kind enough to remove it. She mentioned to Miles that her neighbor, Arthur, was having a Hanukkah party at her house and invited Miles to come.
Jude Law - Wikimedia
Amanda Learns About Graham’s Private Life
Amanda, on the other hand, chose not to see Graham again. However, she had a change of heart and boldly went to his home to tell him so. When he answered the door, two little girls, Sophie and Olivia, followed him to the door. They were the callers who phoned Graham while he was with Amanda. When Amanda asked Graham if he was married, he said that he was a widower, and had been for two years. She did not understand why he didn’t mention that. He explained that he always kept his private life separate from the women he met.
Sophie and Olivia liked Amanda and invited her in to see the tent that they had in their bedroom. All four enjoyed themselves in the tent, bringing Graham to realize that perhaps he and Amanda could be more than friends.
“An Evening with Arthur Abbott”
Iris, in the meantime, was helping Arthur with his mail, and saw that he kept throwing out one notice. The Screen Actors Guild wanted to hold “An Evening with Arthur Abbott,” in which he would receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in Screenwriting. Arthur ignored the request because he was embarrassed that he was not able to walk without his walker. Iris convinced Arthur that he should accept, and set about getting him in better physical condition for the affair by having him exercise in her pool.
Jack Black - Wikimedia
Maggie is Unfaithful to Miles
Arthur had recommended several films for Iris to watch, which featured women who had gumption. He felt that her submissiveness to Jasper had been holding her back. When Miles and Iris visited the video shop, Miles spotted his girlfriend Maggie walking by with a man on her arm. He ran after her, disappointed in her infidelity. He and Iris told each other their stories of unrequited love, which drew them toward each other.
Amanda Plans to Extend Her Stay in Surrey
Graham came to see Amanda once again and told her he loved her and that their long-distance relationship could work. She agreed and said she would stay in Surrey so that they and the girls could be together on New Year’s Eve. Amanda shed tears of joy for the first time in many, many years.
Eli Wallach - Wikimedia
Miles told Iris that Maggie had called him and he had to see her. He planned to attend Arthur’s celebration but he would be late. Iris accompanied Arthur to the venue where, to his surprise, hundreds of people were there to greet him. He was able to climb the stairs on his own because of the exercise regimen that Iris had given him in the pool. When Miles showed up, he told Iris he had broken up with Maggie, and asked Iris what she was doing for New Year’s Eve. Iris said she would be back in London on New Year’s Eve. Miles said he would come to London so that they could celebrate New Year’s Eve together.
Thatched Cottage - Author: Antiquary Wikimedia
A Happy Ending
The final scenes showed Amanda, Graham and his daughters, and Graham’s sister Iris and Miles, all celebrating the holiday at Graham’s house. The ending was not surprising. This is a rom-com (romantic comedy). The only difficulty in the film was the fact that the plot moved back and forth swiftly between the two young women and their love affairs, which made it challenging to follow at times. However, if you want to spend a pleasant evening, “The Holiday” will make you feel good.
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(price as of Jun 23, 2016)