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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Holiday

Delightfully Cozy



For the lucky ones, the holidays are about seeing family and friends and drawing out all the nonsense that went on that year. The holidays have a way of making the year's trivial problems just not matter anymore. For others, the holidays are about escape. Escape from responsibility, escape from stress, and escape from the familiarity of where you live and the sameness of everyday life. Nancy Meyers The Holiday is a delightfully cozy and charming tribute to those escapes.


Amanda (Retired Film Veteran Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) have both been defeated in their personal lives. Amanda's boyfriend has been unfaithful and the man Iris loves is engaged to someone else. Needing to get far away from the stress of their troubles, they both meet online and decide to swap houses for the winter holidays. Iris travels to Amanda’s sunny Los Angeles mansion and Amanda travels to Iris’s adorable cottage in Surrey England.


Upon arrival, Iris wastes no time in getting used to all the luxury while Amanda has a hard time driving on the opposite side of the road and bumping her head on Iris’s stairs. Amanda soon meets Graham, (Jude Law) Iris’s widowed brother while Iris befriends Miles’ (Jack Black) a Hollywood composer who works with Amanda and Arthur (Eli Wallach) an elderly screenwriter.


From this point forward, The Holiday dedicates its time to focus on the chemistry between all the characters and making audiences feel rosy warm. Diaz and Law particularly force audiences to acknowledge that the two of them are as corny as it sounds, made for each other. The more they learn about each other, the more we root for them.


Winslet and Black are equally good together. There's a scene where they're drinking Starbucks iced coffee at a Blockbuster Video Store. That scene is so nostalgic to me, having grown up with Blockbuster. It's a thing of the past that's not here anymore but I love remembering how it made me feel each time I entered to rent a new movie. Of course, no Nancy Meyers film would be complete without superb interior decorating. Amanda's house is one straight out of Architectural Digest while Iris’s cottage is right out of a picture book.


Overall, The Holiday is an absolute must for holiday films. It's cheerful but never sappy, funny but never immature and lovely but never vain.


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