For anyone who is searching for a movie that captures and uplifts the human spirit this holiday season, The Holiday should definitely be top on your list. The Holiday stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women dealing with romantic woes who each decide that a drastic change in scenery is just what the doctor ordered. They find each other online and agree to a house swap for a two week period over the Christmas holiday. Cameron Diaz's character, Amanda, travels to England while Kate Winslet's character, Iris, travels to Los Angeles. After swapping locations and "lives" they each serendipitously meet men, played by Jude Law and Jack Black, who give the women a fresh perspective and new ray of hope in their lives.
Both women continue to live parallel lives throughout the film, each becoming involved with men who are a part of the other's life. Veteran actor Eli Wallach plays legendary film writer Arthur Abbott who teaches the wide eyed Iris (Kate Winslet) about Hollywood-lore as he recounts to her the golden era of Hollywood. Together Arthur and Iris help one another to feel alive again as Arthur prepares to be honored by The Writers Guild of America for his screenwriting career. Meanwhile, in England, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) grows closer to Jude Law's character, Graham, and as he teaches her to love again, she breathes new life into him after the death of his wife. Jack Black's character, Miles, lifts Iris's spirits, channeling Black's own trademark humor into that of his character and growing closer and closer to Iris (Kate Winslet).
Both female leads have interesting and slightly different story archs. Kate Winslet's character, Iris, learns that the man she has been pining over for a few years is actually a cad who is not worth her time and she finds a healthier, more positive relationship with Jack Black's character, Miles. Cameron Diaz's character, Amanda, learns how to let people in again and experience true love after years of keeping walls up around her.
The beginning of The Holiday seems a bit contrived and artificial as we watch Cameron Diaz's character, Amanda, have an uninspired and unprovoked tantrum and throw her boyfriend (played by Ed Burns) out of her house. The circumstances leading up to Kate Winslet's character's need for a change seems much more organic, and we can really feel her pain. There were also some odd choices made by the writer and/or director over the course of the film, such as an unexplained dog who is living in the house that Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is borrowing for the week. Is it Iris's dog or Amanda's dog? And why would someone leave their dog with a complete stranger? If you focus on the broader strokes as opposed to the details, the film is much more believable.
Eventually Iris and Amanda's worlds intersect in more ways than one. The moral I got from this story is that life can change at any moment and for the better. I also found it inspiring that these two characters acted on a hunch to make some much needed changes in their lives and that hunch pays off for both women.
Rated PG-13. Runtime 136 min. Theatrical release 12/8/2006.
PR.com Rating: B+