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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"The Holiday" Movie Review

Tonight, my mom's last night before going home to Finland, we went and saw "The Holiday," which had its opening night to packed theaters. And for good reason.

It tells the story of Iris, an Englishwoman, and Amanda, from Los Angeles, both of whom find themselves in less-than-
satisfactory love situations. They decide to swap houses for two weeks over the Christmas holiday, and find that sometimes it is easier to rediscover oneself when removed from one's customary surroundings.

Here's a movie that could have gone two ways — it could have been a Hollywood let's-cash-in-promise-big-deliver-small chick flick, with mediocre writing and everything flat to the formula. Few so-called chick flicks in the past few years have delivered a quality movie-going experience, so the fear of this being another one of those was prevalent.

Happily, the movie actually delivers! The movie is deftly written, both plot and dialogue-wise by Nancy Meyers (writer/director of "Something's Gotta Give" - the 2003 Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson pic). It avoids clichés, putting a fresh, more human, and quite a tender spin to the relationships; few of the relationships are simple, and there are little surprises everywhere along the road. The script also has nice nods to movies and leading ladies of the Hollywood Golden Era, and subtle visual and verbal homages to heroines of the past. Keep an eye out in the beginning of the pic, when Iris crosses the same bridge across the Thames as Bridget Jones did; delish little nod.

Nancy Meyers also directed, and her direction is deft. The superb actors are handled lightly; Meyers obviously could recognize their strengths and how to best feature and bring the actors to their top form. Kate Winslet, an actor whom I like more each time I see her, gives a very honest performance, acting-wise; no gimmicks, no cheap tricks; her scenes are wonderful because you don't see the gears. (caveat: there are two scenes of actors doing the "it's a Hollywood movie, so we have to have people dance when they're in a house alone"—a prevalent curse since "Risky Business"). Eli Wallach, as an aged screenwriter, also has a multifaceted performance. Jude Law is surprisingly scrumptious, and Jack Black plays a nice-guy straight-man well. I wish, however, that folks stopped casting my beloved Rufus Sewell in "jerk" roles—to me he's a leading man.

The movie is an extraordinarily pleasurable experience. It deserves a solid A.

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Blogger SzélsőFa said...

Thanks for the questions, I have answered them all.

December 09, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger SzélsőFa said...

I've just read the rewiev. For personal reasons, I think I'm gonna see it. The trailer itself was not that mush promising, but the rewiev helped a lot.

December 09, 2006 8:33 AM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Yeah, this trailer was not very good - they had a better one on TV here but I couldn't find it.

December 09, 2006 10:09 AM  

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