The Holiday

This is a romantic comedy, but not the brain dead one you typically see. There is actual substance here, and the acting is very surprising for the cast they chose. Nothing against the actors, they just don’t typically do this kind of movie with this kind of performance.

Plot: 6/5
Iris is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda, realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women who have never met and live 6,000 miles apart, find themselves in the exact same place. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda’s L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow covered English countryside. Shortly after arriving at their destinations, both woman finds the last thing either wants or expects: a new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris’ handsome brother Graham and Iris, with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter Arthur, mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles.

I think in this case the DVD description is pretty dead on. The plot might not sound like much, but the execution is where the story gets points.

Acting: 5/5
This really surprised me. Amanda and Iris are played by Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet respectively. While this pairing might not seem like much, even considering Graham is Jude Law, what really got me was Iris’ Miles, played by Jack Black. He has his goofy moments, but it is a more focused and refined funny side than he usually shows. His character can almost be pegged as serious. I don’t know if Black chose this role as a way to put feelers into a new genre, as a way of testing his acting, or as a one time fling, but he did amazingly. I think if Black took on more roles like this one his career would become legendary, instead of the joke most of what he does is now. He would be taken seriously with more of what you see in this film under his belt.

Directing: 5/5
What I look for in directing is if you ever notice it or not. Not noticing is typically better than the alternative, though sometimes there are cool shots where you have to step back and say “woah”. In this case you notice nothing. The story goes smoothly and naturally, with great grace and easy transitions.

Other Things
This movie is not particularly fancy. It has no outstanding directing or fast plot, but watching it you don’t really notice. It is a movie I would describe in a word as “comfortable”. You can relax and watch this movie without going brain dead. It holds your attention, but doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen. It is just a story about people living their lives. Describing it I know it sounds like a pretty dull film, but I don’t know how to do it justice. I would recommend this as a nice comedy to watch on a rainy or cold night by yourself or with friends or lovers. It is that kind of movie.

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