Best Chick Flicks -The Holiday

The Holiday - A Star-Studded Chick Flick

The Holiday was released for the Christmas market in December 2006 and does its job as a not so run of the mill Christmas movie by being a first rate chick flick as well - seasonal and special.

When the movie opens, Iris (Kate Winslet) has discovered that her long-time unrequited but occasional booty-call, Jasper (Rufus Sewell) has gotten engaged.

Christmas lies ahead and once again, she is alone in her gorgeous little cottage which should be being shared by two.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is languishing in a sumptuous Beverly Hills mansion and is also unhappy with the man in her life, the incorrigible Ethan (Ed Burns).

Amanda is unhappy and resigned to the end of her relationship; Iris is all sweet and heartbroken - the opening scenes of the movie set up the rest of the movie - two unhappy women not looking forward to spending the holidays alone in their own homes, so near to their former lovers.

Iris' narrative is that of a well read woman (a journalist in fact) who ponders Shakespeare's quotes, 'Journey's end in lovers' meeting' and 'Love is blind' and finds the latter fits the bill in her case. She has loved the same man for years and he has dipped in and out of her life, never ever committing to her. His betrothal to another woman is the final heartbreaking straw and Iris cannot face Christmas at home. 'The Holiday' is almost a holiday from her own sad life.

So in a wonderful piece of symmetry, Iris and Amanda both place ads offering a house swap for the Christmas vacation and end up on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

And so each flies away from heartache and torment and the events which ensue will become the focus for 'The Holiday'.

Iris, played by Kate Winslet
Iris, played by Kate Winslet
Winslet and Black
Winslet and Black

The Holiday in Hollywood - Iris

So poor Iris, jilted by Jasper flies to LAX and is astonished to find Amanda's house swap involves a rather large mansion up in the Hollywood Hills.

Not only that but she is surrounded by creative people - her favourite type.

Writer and Director Nancy Meyer could not ask for a better female co-lead in Kate Winslet for The Holiday whose acting is so naturalistic that viewers automatically associate with her kind hearted heartbroken soul. Winslet seems to do very little in her acting - she is able to convince us that she IS Iris.

She befriends lonely neighbour Arthur, actually a famous screenwriter and makes him feel young again. Jack Black provides the romance for Winslet but it is a protracted affair as he too is recovering from heartbreak at the hands of a pretty heartless ex-girlfriend.

If you're used to seeing Jack Black in 'School of Rock' or 'Tenacious D' then prepare yourself for a shock - he is very low-key in The Holiday and this takes some getting used to. I kept waiting for the laughs to ensue but Black is surprisingly tender in the role of Miles, a musician who writes for the movies and writes music for Amanda's trailers, hence his turning up at Amanda's house and finding Iris in situ.

On the plus side, Winslet is so good that she genuinely seems to start falling for this man - so very different from her ex-lover, Jasper, who makes a reappearance in The Holiday on her side of the Atlantic in another attempt at an ill-timed booty call. The sequence with Rufus Sewell is perfectly executed and comes just at the right time in the movie - will she, won't she?

This time though, led by Arthur's wisdom and Miles' slow-burning adoration for her, she resists temptation. She realises that she could choose a different future with this lovely musician and leave Jasper to his womanising.

The relationship in Hollywood between Iris and Arthur is very touching and Winslet and Eli Wallach clearly have a strong screen chemistry. In many respects, this additional platonic relationship is the best of all, perhaps because it brings Iris to a better understanding of herself and what she needs for herself.

Amanda played by Cameron Diaz
Amanda played by Cameron Diaz
Law and Diaz
Law and Diaz

The Holiday in England - Amanda

Amanda played by Cameron Diaz is a lot more feisty than Iris and going to England is a complete change for her too. In the small Surrey town, she can just disappear. And that is all she really wants.

She is used to Hollywood and being on the arm of a top producer, played by Ed Burns that her ability to disappear into the wintry Surrey countryside comes as a welcome distraction.

Her first evening alone in Iris' cottage is spent eating biscuits and drinking wine. She does not venture far in the awful weather and settles down in this small space, happy with her decision to travel to England.

The appearance of Graham, Iris' brother crashing at Iris' place after a night on the tiles leads Amanda into a romance she did not anticipate.

Jude Law is surprisingly good as Graham, both good looking and charming and director, Meyer throws in the added nugget of his being a widower too. The relationship between Amanda and Graham stutters at first but then flourishes thanks to Amanda's re-evaluation of her own life.

She is a movie trailer maker, used to slick image and promotion. Can she really live outside of this unreal world and just settle into a life with a widower with a small daughter? We see Amanda have her edges smoothed out by falling in love with Graham and Diaz and Law are good together on screen.

The Holiday - Romance, Conflict, Friendship and Christmas!

Some critics have accused Nancy Meyer of including too much sentimentality in 'The Holiday' but this is a Christmas movie and a Christmas movie without a little bit of the mushy stuff would not be right.

Meyer has made no apologies for 'The Holiday' being a chick flick with a bit of schmaltz and certainly its many fans would probably say that's what raises it above some other chick flicks - it is not just about romance. It has humour, but not the laugh out loud kind. It has two unconventional friendships with Amanda contemplating the role of step-mother to Graham's daughter, Sophie and Iris making a good friend in Eli Wallach's Arthur - who is an old man who falls completely under her spell but gives her some great advice about not selling herself short.

Arthur '....why is a beautiful girl like you spending Christmas in a stranger's house and on top of that, spending Saturday night with an old Ka-Ka like me?'

Iris ' ....I wanted to get away from an ex-boyfriend who got engaged and forgot to tell me.'

Arthur 'He let you go. This is not hard to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have best friends. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.'

And that's when Iris realises she needs to be someone's leading lady - all from the words of an old Hollywood screenwriter - a coincidence? Of course not.

Meyer is actually paying a sort of tribute in The Holiday to the Golden age of Hollywood and the leading ladies, directors and scriptwriters of that time - Hawks, Capra and the likes.

She stays true to the Golden age of Hollywood Christmas movie style and infuses it with some chick flick flair - fashion, movie high life, fashion, beauty and fun in the snow. For all of its critics, Winslet, Law, Diaz, Black and Wallach read the script and signed on the dotted line.

Meyer had already had a successful movie with 'Something's Got To Give' and after 'The Holiday' went on to make 'It's Complicated' starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.

All three movies are eminently watchable and definitely movies that you can watch more than once - Meyer has the knack of writing great dialogue so getting stars in the leading roles is not much of a stretch.

She infuses her movies with universal human themes and as such, they are not aimed at any particular age group. This gives them the edge over other chick flicks.

'The Holiday' is a chick Flick with snow, carols and Christmas trees and for most viewers it is very watchable - a chick flick with bells on!

Many thanks for reading this review.

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Comments 35 comments

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

mary615, thanks for looking anyway at this hub - it is a nicely paced movie with some good performances from a number of its leads. I agree with you wholeheartedly about spending good money at the cinema, no longer a cheap night out, when the movie turns out to be a dud.

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I haven't seen this one, but I'll take your word. Every movie I see now a days is a big disappointment, and I begrudge the money I spent to see a lousy movie!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

iswaryaa22, you are obviously a big fan of The Holiday! Many thanks for your comment.

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

This wonderful film is one of my favorite films! I watched it 3 times and highly recommended it to my cousin-sister. She also liked this film very much. All 4 stars, including Eli Wallach did justice to their roles. An ideal Xmas film! A well-written review! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Awesome. Voted up

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Ingenira, many thanks for your comment.

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 4 years ago

I've watched this movie and had a really good laugh. It is a great "holiday" movie.

Great review !

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Janine - you must be a true fan to see it 12 times, I thought I was a fan having seen it about 4 times; it does have that effects though. Many thanks for your comment.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

vespawoolf, many thanks for your comment - I appreciate it!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

carter06, many thanks for your comment - yes, The Holiday is a good 'feel good' movie. I never get tired of watching it.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Christy - yeah, a fellow fan :o) Many thanks for the comment and the share!

carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

Absolutely loved it and watch it whenever I want a 'feel good' one...lot's if votes & shared

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I LOVE this movie! Thanks for a great review. Now I have to watch it again!

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Totally loved this movie and have seen it over a dozen times now. It is really is a chick flick, but being a chick I can't help but adore it. Thank you for the comprehensive review and am sharing and voting up too!

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I loooove this movie! I own it and have managed to invite friends who have not already seen it to watch it with me too. Sharing this one!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Terri, thanks for your comment - I like most chick flicks but I think this one is in the 'elite' category.

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Great review of a very good movie. I don't usually like "chick flicks" but I did enjoy this one. :) VUM.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

teaches12345 and Nell - many thanks for your comments!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Great review. I have not viewed this movie but will have to look into the possibility over the holiday.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi Jools, yes loved this film! lol! I must have watched it at least 3 times, and for me this is a miracle! I hate chick flicks! give me vampires or gangsters! but for some reason this one stuck with me, I think it was the clever way they did it, great review! now I want to watch it again!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

SueLynn, do glad you liked this movie (and my article too) :o), this film is another keeper for me, I watch it over and over again.

Suelynn profile image

Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

Jools99, I LOVE your review and couldn't agree more. It's so well written and applause from me. Voted up and across. :) Loved the movie and saw it more than once.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Bill, Bev will definitely like it and I think that you will too - Kate is very good in it.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Josh, other comments show that you guys like the occasional chick flick and why not - we ladies watch war films, sci-fi and sports movies. A little bit if what you fancy is good for you every once in a while - and it needn't be a guilty pleasure 0 watch it with your partner :o)

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Xstatic, No of course you should not be embarrassed - you are showing that you are enlightened and have 'eclectic' tastes :o)

Many thanks for your comment.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Lover Man has good taste :o), my husband also watches most movies with me and he liked this one too. Many thanks for your comment.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Definitiely a good one for 'yuletide' but still watchable at any time of year.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

Paula, I have talked hubby around re: chick flicks. He won't watch them all ('shopaholic' was a no-go area for him) but he did enjoy 'The Holiday'.

Many thanks for commenting.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK Author

mhatter - I will pop oversoon to find this limerick! Many thanks for commenting.

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Now, didn't I write a limerick about chick flicks? :)) seriously, good review

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Jools...I like Kate and I cameron, as fact most of the current starlets are women I enjoy in the so-called "chick flicks." You've made this movie sound like a "must-see." So, I'll probably do just that.

When the term, "chick flick," first came out....I was hoping it wouldn't catch on....bummer. It's like a warning...big RED flag to guys...before they even see it...and that's not fair. ...because if they would just ignore the label...they'd probably love the movie.....But the "macho" image, you know!! UP++

rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Haven't seen it yet. Thanks for the review. We're always looking for something new around Christmastime, beyond the standard fare. That it's a Chick Flick will make it easy to convince my wife.

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

I did see it. It was a Cute Cast, and it made for a Fun "Chick" flick. We share movies, and so Lover Man Enjoyed it too...Of course he likes more "Action Thrillers" and yes, I'll watch them too!

xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Gosh, Should I be embarassed to say that "chick flick" this is one of my favorite movies? I bought it as soon as it came out. Love the cast!

josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

This seems like an excellent chick flick. I have to admit, that although I am a guy, I do watch chick flicks from time to time! Thanks for the informative, and well written review Julie!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I haven't seen this one but I love the cast, especially Winslet. I'll have to rent it as I'm sure Bev will want to cry her eyes out over it. :) Thanks for the tip.

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