The Holiday is not just one of my favorite Christmas films, but one of my favorite films period. This story which is now a decade old follows two women who decide to switch homes and lives for the holidays. In the process, they both meet new people, including potential love interests, and learn something about themselves.
Although there are many implausibilities about this film, I really don’t care because it has charm, warmth and heart. It harkens back to the days of classic films when you fell in love with a movie, because you fell in love with the characters and the story was moved along not by CGI action and graphic sex scenes but by great dialogue.
So, to rip off one of my favorite poets (I’m looking at you Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and without further ado…
How do I love thee, The Holiday, let me count the ways:
- Arthur played by Eli Wallach -Arthur is the elderly next door neighbor who Iris (Kate Winslet) befriends and who becomes a pseudo-therapist/mentor to her. I love the way they each see the truth about each other and encourage one another to live more meaningful lives. My favorite scene of Arthur is towards the end when he thinks he’s been forgotten and he walks into a benefit in his honor. I cry every single time, because who wouldn’t want to come to the end of their life and realize that they have made a difference and are remembered well. I want an Arthur!!
2. The speeches – Iris (Winslet) gets most of the best speeches in this film, because she has the most transformative journey. I remember the first time I watched this feeling like someone had crawled into my brain and written the way I was feeling into the words Iris spoke. I can quote them verbatim and I think most people can relate to her everywoman life and the process she goes through.
3. Miles played by Jack Black -Confession, I’m not much of a Jack Black fan. He’s a little too over the top for me. But I was surprised how much I love him in this film, especially as a romantic interest. He is still funny, but more subtle and much more human. And can I say, the scene where he plays the melody he wrote for Iris? One of my favorite romantic scenes ever! It gets me every time.
4. The two girls who play Graham’s (Jude Law) daughters. They are two of the cutest child actresses I’ve seen in movies and their characters are darling without veering into that cutesy territory which I find so annoying. Their interaction with the adults in the movie is natural and believable and honestly, they make me want to come over and play. I mean how adorable are they here, sharing their homemade tent with their dad and Amanda (Cameron Diaz)?
5. Jude Law and Cameron Diaz -I seriously think this is the most beautiful either of them has ever looked in a film, and that’s saying something. I mean, they both look like they are lit from within. And although their characters’ story is not my favorite when compared to the other stories playing out in this film, it doesn’t matter. They could have no story at all, and I would watch them all day when they look so flawlessly gorgeous.
6. This compliment: Although I think Miles and Iris have one of the most romantic scenes in any film, this is one of my favorite compliments that I have ever heard.
7. The humor -This film has heart and character. It also has depth. But my favorite thing about it, is how all of this is weaved together with humor. It’s not staged or over the top humor, not ridiculous or sarcastic. It’s just the everyday variety which finds a laugh, even in sad or trying circumstances. It’s self-deprecating and sincere.
8. The soundtrack -I may or may not have purchased the soundtrack solely for Arthur and Iris’ theme songs. However, there are also some great classic holiday songs as well as non-holiday themed songs by artists like Imogen Heap, Wham!, the Killers and more. Not to mention a film score by the great Hans Zimmer. (How many Oscars has he been nominated for now? I think the count is ten.) But what else should we expect from a film which features a main character who is wait for it….a film composer! Just be forewarned. If you decide to purchase the soundtrack, please be aware that it only features the Hans Zimmer score and does not include any of the other songs.
This list could continue indefinitely as my love for The Holiday knows no bounds. But, I don’t want to waste anymore of your time as I’m sure that you are anxious to go watch this film right away!