The Holiday (12A)



Comedy (2006)
135mins US

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer(s): Nancy Meyers
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Amanda lives in sunny California and is fed up with her relationship with her boyfriend Ethan. Across the Atlantic in London, Iris is in a similar position with her beau Jasper. Desperate for a break from their heartache, the two strangers agree a house-swap. Amanda and Iris are delighted to escape from their old lives, only to find that love is quite literally on their new doorsteps in the form of their counterpart's respective brothers Graham and Miles.

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Read Stephanie Hall's review
Read Heather Von Bourne's review

LondonNet Film Review by Stephanie Hall

The Holiday
The great thing about rom coms is they're seasonal. The Holiday is this year's Christmas romantic comedy, as was Love Actually a few years ago. These films are sappy proponents of Christmas as a holiday more romantic than Valentine's Day, and they serve to remind all the single people out there that they may be alone now, but in the days running up to Christmas, they will fall in love and all will be OK...

CAMERON DIAZ and JUDE LAW star as Amanda and Graham in THE HOLIDAY. Photo Credit: Simon MeinCopyright:  2006 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Lonely is exactly how the two heroines enter The Holiday, a film from possibly the most famous female director in the biz right now, writer/director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give). Cameron Diaz's Amanda begins the film with a whole lot of screaming and hair flipping; she's annoyingly good at it, but it's understandable because Amanda's just found out her boyfriend (Ed Burns) is sleeping with his secretary. Deciding she needs a break from her life, she logs onto a home exchange website, where she stumbles across a dreamy, tranquil cottage in the English countryside, owned by Iris (Kate Winslet).

Iris is equally miserable, an 'unrequited love expert' and wedding writer for the Telegraph who has just found out she is to cover the wedding of the man she's loved for the past three years. She jumps at the opportunity to spend Christmas in Amanda's L.A. mansion, and the two jet to opposite sides of the Atlantic to drown their sorrows.

It's not long before the film is operating on estrogen overload. Fortunately Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law) stumbles in drunkenly to Iris' house during Amanda's first night to add some much-needed masculinity. He ends up sleeping with Amanda; the two swear it's a one night thing, but find a hard time ending it. Iris, meanwhile, has befriended Amanda's elderly neighbor Arthur (Eli Wallach), a screenwriter from the glory days of Hollywood, and Miles (Jack Black), a friend of Amanda's ex and a film music composer.

The Holiday is a solid effort, but doesn't have the quirk or originality of Meyers's last and best film, Something's Gotta Give. The film was written with all four actors specifically in mind, and it shows but that doesn't mean it always works. Both Law and Winslet turn in charming performances. Diaz is a capable comedienne, but never strays from familiar territory. Black seams miscast, either that or too much of his story line was cut. Still, it is refreshing in a genre as re-hashed and formulaic as romantic comedy to see a unique pairing such as Miles and Iris. Meyer's did it so successfully with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Something's Gotta Give, but she seems to shy away from it here by allowing the beautiful Amanda and Graham too much time to frolic and talk about how complicated their lives are.

Cynicism aside, it's an uplifting flick. Sure, there's too much gazing and sighing, but most people know that going in. If one gets past its few faults, it's more than capable of offering some holiday cheer.

- Stephanie Hall

Click here to watch the trailer

LondonNet Film Review by Heather Von Bourne

The Holiday
With a dreamy, festive setting and underlying message of love to all men and women - especially if they're single and unspeakably attractive - The Holiday is a corny comedy that will appeal to hopeless romantics...

KATE WINSLET and JACK BLACK star as Iris and Miles in THE HOLIDAY. Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal. Copyright:  2006 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDIn sunny California we meet Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who creates movie trailers and is fed up with her cheating boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns). Across the Atlantic in snow-laden London, Iris (Kate Winslet), who writes the wedding column for The Daily Telegraph, is in a similar position with roguish beau Jasper (Rufus Sewell). Desperate for a break from their respective heartaches, the two women agree a temporary house-swap for Christmas.

Amanda and Iris are delighted to escape from their old lives, only to find that love is quite literally on their new doorsteps: for the American visitor, it's Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law), and for the Brit abroad, a film composer called Miles (Jack Black). The two couples get on swimmingly but their happiness is threatened by Amanda and Iris' inevitable return to their old lives.

Meyers's film is completely divorced from reality. Iris's job on The Daily Telegraph must be extremely well paid for her to afford the picture postcard Rose Hill Cottage, nestled in the one nook of the English countryside with a perpetual dusting of snow. Amanda is obviously doing very nicely too, with her sprawling L.A. mansion, although it must only have one bedroom - how else do you account for Ethan sleeping on the sofa rather than in a guest room when he is banished from the bedroom by his enraged other half? Graham is so unfathomably perfect - good looking, charming, sensitive, in touch with his emotions, available - that it's laughable. A case of wish fulfilment on the writer-director's part.

The script is sprinkled with some smart, acerbic one-liners, like when Graham declares, "Long distance relationships can work, you know?" and Amanda responds, "Really? I can't make one work when I live in the same house as someone." Amanda's storyline begins badly - the character comes across as whiny and irritating - but improves considerably, dominating the second half of the film. Diaz generates a pleasing screen chemistry with Law, the latter adopting an array of adoring and flirtatious stares for the camera; so much so, women at my screening were ovulating at his every appearance.

In contrast, Iris's journey of self-discovery, which bears an uncanny similarity to Bridget Jones's Diary - insecure media heroine prone to bouts of self-pity and tears, caddish love interest who breaks her heart - becomes less interesting as the film progresses. The romance with Ethan develops too late in the film to be satisfying, ensuring narrative symmetry with Amanda and Graham's relationship and setting up a saccharine, festive finale that will leave audiences feeling either warm and fuzzy, or slightly nauseous.

- Heather Von Bourne

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London Cinemas

From Friday 8th December
To Thursday 14th December

- Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano
- Charlotte Street Hotel
From Friday 15th December
To Thursday 21st December

- Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano
- Courthouse Hotel


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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 8th December
To Thursday 14th December

- Banchory, Woodend Barn
- Penistone, Paramount Cinema
- Sheffield, The Leadmill
From Friday 15th December
To Thursday 21st December

Not showing at any
UK cinemas this week.


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