192 of 200 people found the following review helpful
Nancy Meyers' "The Holiday" has been seriously dissed by most of America's film critics--including one who suggested that any man who goes to see it should be forced to pay with a crucial part of his anatomy instead of money. "The Holiday" is indeed a prime example of what is condecendingly known as a "chick flick," and it's not a movie you can make great claims for. But "The Holiday" succeeds outstandingly in living up to its title; it provides an audience with a two-hour vacation filled with charming, likable actors playing charming, likable characters. The movie is set during the Christmas holidays in which two women with man problems--Iris (Kate Winslet), an English journalist, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), an L.A. producer of film trailers--meet over the Internet. On a whim, they decide to switch houses for Christmas; Amanda ends up in Iris's picture-postcard-pretty cottage in Surrey, Iris in Amanda's luxurious, gated mansion in Beverly Hills. There, they discover new romantic complications: Amanda with Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law) and Iris with a film composer named Miles (Jack Black). There's also a subplot about the friendship that develops between Iris and an elderly screenwriter played by the venerable Eli Wallach. Nothing that happens in the movie is at all original or consequential. I could even quibble about an inaccuracy or two in Meyers' screenplay (Cary Grant was from Bristol in Gloucestershire, not Surrey). But seeing "The Holiday" makes you feel happy and light of heart, which is all it sets out to do. While the film's appeal is necessarily greater for women, I also think most men will find this a more-than-serviceable date movie. Sometimes you want a movie that's rich, gooey and sweet, that contains no sharp edges and requires no sharp utensils for its consumption. In an increasingly abrasive world, the need for cinematic confections is greater than ever, and "The Holiday" fills that bill.
84 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2007
I don't think this decade has had much success with romantic comedies, but trust me that with "The Holiday", the 2000s have never looked better. I consider this film to be one that extracts the finest performances from Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz EVER, and once you see it, you will know what I mean.
Kate Winslet has acted in many good movies ("Hideous Kinky", "Holy Smoke", "Iris") but its ironic that her most poignant and well-written role comes in "The Holiday". You probably know the story already - its about two women on two different continents who swap houses and lives after a chance meeting on the Internet - but the treatment and above all, the DIALOGUE, is what drives this romantic comedy to the heights of that most rare animal - a cinema classic.
And thats what "The Holiday" is. I honestly think that a genuine, feel-good film such as this should be embraced by the Oscar group, instead of their focus on typical epic films such as "Babel" and "Gladiator". This is where the magic is. Cameron Diaz especially, has never found a better vehicle for her goofy charm (yes, this is even better - staggeringly better than "There's Something About Mary"). Jude Law, who has had his share of incredible dramatic performances in films such as "Wilde" and "Alfie", uses his effortless charm and natural screen presence to radiate such magnetism, that he is undeniably the most spot-on best romantic lead you would have seen for a while.
Audiences I saw this with claimed that "The Holiday" was at least twice as better than "Pretty Woman". No comparison. The films I consider really good romantic comedies would be "Never Been Kissed", "A Life Less Ordinary" and "Theres Something About Mary". However, "The Holiday" is all that, but the amazing thing is that it has a heart of gold and does NOT rely upon slapstick humor to make the dialogue and situations work.
Kate Winslets' character in fact, is one worth coming back to and studying, even from a film students' perspective. She infuses her role with so much wit and warmth, that we do not mind if this girl even ends up single in the movie - we just want her to find herself. The scene where she dumps her boyfriend after three years of emotional abuse is absolutely wondrous - the actress glows and gives off such electric spark that its impossible not to FEEL for this beautiful character.
Jack Black, in a superb cinematic role as a Hollywood music industry biggie, is never meant to be taken seriously as a love interest for Kate, much as some would like to think so. Their sad tale is of two people in two different bad relationships finding a friend again - I loved how the end of this movie did not strive to hurriedly bring two people together - rather, it allows space for the characters to breathe and live their emotions, which is why its so easy to take this film seriously, and which is why you MUST watch it.
Finally a film worth buying! I have waited so long for a movie of such depth, grace and respect for the art of film-making.
There are so many amazing scenes here - Kate in her quaint cottage trying to commit suicide (a poignant moment filled with humor and grief all at the same time), Kate waking up in the lap of luxury in Los Angeles, the initial meeting between Cameron and Jude and their wondrous chemistry, the moment where they realize they are in love with each other, the moment where Cameron meets Jude's kids, and her ultimate realization that her selfish, unloving persona has been undone by this mans' love - and the scene where she leaves it all behind to run back to the person she loves the most. There are SO many such moments during this movie. Consider this a return to form for Hollywood in general.
I would especially like to thank the makers of "The Holiday". I don't know if any of them read Amazon reviews, but as a critic of film, I find it so hard to like so many of the "serious" films out there today. Most of them are made to win Oscars, and then there are those tailormade to win Academy Awards. Either way, they're made to win something. And then you have the disposable comedies of the "Scary Movie" variety. But a film such as this makes me realize that the glory days of the 1950s and 60s of Hollywood still exist.
I must also state here that I only saw this film because I saw that it starred Kate Winslet. This is one actress that has never let me down throughout her amazing career - and to find that she gave her best ever performance in this film made me all the more happier. She takes a beaten down, funnily written character and transforms her into a woman of great intelligence and feeling - this is NOT Bridget Jones' Diary!
Which is why its obvious why these stars signed up for a movie such as this. On the face of it, "The Holiday" is a two-story arc that converges into one in the end - about the love lives of two very different women. But it is so much more than that - in fact, it is a meditation on love and hope in this day and age.
If my praise seems extravagant, all I can say is, buy this. Do not rent it, buy it. It is the pinnacle of working excellence for all three major stars - Jude, Kate and Cameron, and it is by far the best romantic comedy of the 2000s by a long shot. Also, I find it hard to believe that anything more amazing than this would be released anytime this year.
Highly Recommended. Five Stars. Hollywood finally redeems itself and gets it right.
135 of 156 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2007
Two women. Two failed relationships. Two houses. One great romantic comedy. The Holiday is the story of two women, Iris (Kate Winslet in a poignant performance) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who swap houses for two weeks thinking it will help them get over their relationship problems. Amanda will take Iris's house in a small cottage just outside of London, and Iris will stay at Amanda's house in L.A. They will both meet someone who will help them mend their heart.
Let's get one thing out of the way: Yes, this is a chick flick, but a damn fine one at that! I'm not much of a fan of the genre, nor of Nancy Meyers' films, but when I saw this in theatres with my girlfriend last December, I loved it. I thought the film would've lost some of its charm on second viewing, but it hasn't lost one bit of it. With a running time of 136 minutes, you'd think it would drag but it feels like a 90-minute film.
The film has a few surprises and most of all, a great subplot around Arthur's (screen veteran Eli Wallach in a brilliant performance) character. The film goes back and forth between the two relationships, the one in the UK and the one in the US, which gives it a great rhythm. Nothing seems forced and it doesn't fall into the typical clichés of the genre. The dialogue is very well written, kudos to Meyers for that. The characters are interesting; Winslet (my favorite actress) shines in her role as Iris, the girl who falls for the wrong man. I usually avoid movies starring Cameron Diaz and/or Jack Black like the plague, but they were both really good in that one. Jude Law brought some class to his role. The supporting cast was very good (keep your eyes open for a cameo by a famous actor in the video store).
Overall, The Holiday is a very enjoyable film and you don't have to love romantic comedies to enjoy it. It's closer to Something's Gotta Give than What Women Want, and it's much better this way. Check it out, you won't be sorry!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"The Holiday" is a cute, romantic movie about two women, Amanda and Iris (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet), who both find themselves royally screwed over by the men in their lives. Amanda and Iris connect via a housing-swap Web site and agree to switch houses for two weeks in order to escape during the holidays. Amanda heads to England, where she is immediately swept off her feet by Iris's charming brother, Graham (Jude Law). Meanwhile, Iris arrives in L.A. and is blown away by Amanda's posh lifestyle. She befriends an elderly neighbor (Eli Wallach) who is a retired Hollywood screenwriter, and ultimately finds an unexpected new love interest in Miles (Jack Black), a film composer.
This is a fun little movie. I enjoyed the Amanda/Graham scenes most of all. Diaz and Law have excellent chemistry and make a great on-screen pair. I am a huge fan on Winslet and she did a great job in the film as well, but the scenes with her really dragged on a bit in the beginning. There were too many scenes where Iris was just sitting around lamenting about her cad of an ex-boyfriend. My other major beef with this film is that I do not understand why Jack Black is in it. Was no one else available? I have no problem with Black, but this just isn't his type of role, and there was absolutely no romantic spark of any kind between him and Winslet.
In spite of its few flaws, I still enjoyed "The Holiday" very much. It's a sweet romantic comedy that will make you laugh and smile.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I don't recall ever hearing the name of Nancy Meyers before. Yet she took a lot on in this production, with both the writing and directing duties. My feeling is that she is an unusually talented writer, a decent director, and a below-average casting director.
Set in LA and England, Amanda Woods (Diaz) and Miles (Black) work together putting together movie trailers. Woods breaks up with her boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns) after she finds out he had an affair. Miles is in a relationship with a seemingly more stable girlfriend Maggie, who turns out to not be so stable. Meanwhile, in London, Iris Simpkins (Winslet) has been carrying on a three-year, one-sided affair with co-worker Jasper (Rufus Sewell), while her brother Graham (Jude Law) is busy editing books. Iris finds out Jasper is engaged with a girl in the circulation department, and has her heart crushed in front of all of her co-workers. Amanda and Iris are ready for a change. That comes when they agree to switch houses for the Christmas holiday.
In any movie, things have to be believable. That of course can be stretched in, say, a science fiction movie because we know there is no such thing as time travel, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, and there are (unfortunately) no monsters on Mars waiting to attack us as soon as we set foot there.
But in a movie such as 'The Holiday', the arc of the relationships have to work, because the whole movie is ABOUT the relationships! The sumptuous look of the film isn't matched by the casting choices. In the DVD special feature, writer/director Meyers says she 'loves' Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black. Well, who doesn't? At least in individual roles they really fit in. I loved Jack Black in School of Rock. He was just perfect. Here, he isn't. There is zero chemistry between the staid Winslet, who plays a newspaper reporter in London's Daily Telegraph, and Black, who is back to his music by portraying a composer for the movies and movie trailers. Try as he might, Black just doesn't fit well with Winslet at all.
The other pairing in the film, Diaz with Jude Law is equally unbelievable. Diaz, in the Meg Ryan role (ditsy blonde, long in heart and cutesy) had nothing in common with the down-to-earth Law. They just don't fit, and you don't believe for a minute that these two could really end up together.
Ironically, if the male leads were switched, the chemistry might actually work, especially with the non-manic Winslet and the equally settled Law. The potential match between Black and Diaz might be a bit less convincing, because, let's face it, Diaz is a major beauty, and Black is always ruffled, no matter how often is shirt and pants are ironed. Still, you could see it.
But you just NEVER buy the pairing as put forth in this film.
I must comment, however, on the sparkling writing of Ms. Meyers. This woman can write dialog with the best I've run across in the past decade. Her writing is such that you notice how excellent it is, and you make a point of find out who came up with this. There's one scene with Jude Law talking to Diaz about how to make their relationship work that has pacing, inflection, cadence and lyrical tone that is just outstanding.
Oh, and a note about Eli Wallach, who turned 90 during the filming. His character (Aurthur Abbott) is sweet and light-hearted and wonderful. He plays a writer (I suspect Meyers chose that career because of her own talents) who has won many awards, but 'hasn't been busy since 1978'. Iris (Winslet) finds out that the Hollywood community wants to honor a lifetime of writing, but he doesn't want to go. Winslet convinces him to go, and Abbott finds out that many haven't forgotten about him after all. Not to put a fine point on it, but the Winslet-Wallach pairing DOES have chemistry. Their personalities mesh with a 50 year age difference better that the putative pairings of the film.
Over all, three stars. One star only for the casting. Terrible, and it ruins the film. Five stars for the writing. Four stars for the actors when they are not with their supposed 'magical matches'. Two stars for Black and Diaz when they are with Winslet and Law, and four stars for acting for Winslet and Law with they are with their 'mates'. Simply, they are more talented actors/actresses.
It's sad this is such a miss because of the casting. With believable pairing, this could have been special. The worst choice? Diaz. There doesn't seem to be much heart in that girl at all. She comes across as all surface. I didn't like her in the role at all. Poor choice.
41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2006
Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet star as women who are simultaneously suffering from man troubles, and want to get away for a while for the holdays. Through a web site, they agree to swap homes for the holidays - Amanda (Cameron Diaz) ends up in a storybook cottage outside London, while Iris (Kate Winslet) finds herself in an L.A. mansion.
The movie unfolds as two movies, cutting back and forth between their stories. Amanda meets Iris's brother, Graham (Jude Law), who turns out to be unexpectingly different than any other man she's ever met. Meanwhile, Iris meets Miles (Jack Black), a funny goofball of a guy who helps Iris lighten up and stop pining for the man who will never love her.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2007
What happens when two heartbroken women swap their lives (or most of it) for a holiday season? Predictably, it would be to revel in the little or large pleasures the life of another person would bring. To that extent `Holiday' is full of rather predictable outcomes with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet both eventually finding some love and some solace for their broken hearts. That the final outcome of their foreign ventures has been left to the audience's imagination helps the viewer focus on the `Holiday' aspect of the experience and not look beyond.
`Holiday' succeeds in making the audience feel good with a Christmas time story about finding love away from home. The script's unwillingness to delve into possibilities that would have been - if the script were willing to explore outcomes less inevitable - means that the movie ends up being a typical Hollywood feel good movie. But then trying outcomes less predictable would deprive `Holiday' of its essence. In all, it is a good movie for a weekend but not the one that would excite a critic.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2007
The idea of house-swapping is a great set-up for comical action. Add to that, beautiful scenery and endearing characters and you've got a fun and touching movie.
It's very well made - and the icing on the cake is the attempt made to steer clear of stereotypical plot lines. I was kept guessing as to what would happen next, which is refreshing and unusual for a film of this type.
Jack Black, as usual, is great, showing his usual comical charm.
Only criticism I have was there appeared to be a bias towards Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. More of the movie seemed to follow their adventures (due to their star appeal no doubt). I wondered, several times, what's Jack and Kate up to?
I would definitely recommend this film - not only is it funny and moving as you expect a good romantic comedy to be, but it has fresh and unexpected plot twists that keep you interested as well as satisfied.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2007
The Holiday is a cute and yet predictable film about two women who will do anything and go anywhere to get over their recent heartbreaks. Winslet's character is a hopeless romantic, her boyfriend gets engaged to another woman and decides to swap her house for two weeks with a lonesome American, Cameron Diaz does a wonderful job, she keeps getting better and better with each film. Amanda (Diaz) has discovered her boyfriend has been cheating on her with his receptionist, he blames Amanda saying she pushed him away and that's why he strayed. Deciding to start anew, Amanda and Iris (Winslet) change their scenery and lives. With that being said, eventually both ladies find love again, I won't spoil the rest but The Holiday isn't a perfect film but it's darn close. Enjoy!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2009
A great romantic film for a holiday, or for any season. Nearly perfectly cast, acted with vigor. The movie that made me decide Cameron Diaz is worth watching after all. (And to be fair to her, I have since also enjoyed "In Her Shoes" and "Being John Malkovich.") Jude Law and Jack Black are both fun to watch, and Kate Winslet is, well, Kate Winslet - a woman with a genuine gift. The film seems to get a little fuzzy on its timeline in the middle for a bit, bit is otherwise just a heap of fun. Not too deep, not too schmaltzy. A chick flick for guys.