Film / The Holiday

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A Christmas-themed Romantic Comedy film from 2006.

In London, Iris (Kate Winslet) is a journalist who's been pining over her jerk ex Jasper for 3 years, and he just got engaged. Meanwhile, Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who makes film trailers in Los Angeles, has just thrown out her cheating boyfriend. They meet online and elect to swap homes for two weeks during Christmas vacation. Naturally, they meet men (and of course, men that are a part of the other woman's life). Amanda hooks up with Iris' brother (Jude Law) and Iris meets Amanda's composer (Jack Black) for her film trailer.

Not to be confused with Holiday, the 1938 movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Don LaFontaine as the narrator of Amanda's life is one of the best parts of the movie.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Sophie and Olivia, Graham's daughters, are both endearingly bright and well-mannered for their young ages; Amanda is quickly charmed by them.
  • Adorkable: Miles, highlighted by his geeking-out over legendary film composers and his homely awkwardness.
  • Almost Kiss: Iris and Jasper near the end, before Jasper reveals he is still engaged to Sarah. At the end of the scene, Iris throws him out.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Amanda gives one to her cheating boyfriend after throwing him out.
  • Big Fancy House: Amanda's, definitely. Graham's is not too bad either.
  • The Cameo: Dustin Hoffman; see Throw It In below. Also, Lindsay Lohan and James Franco in the "Deception" trailer.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Both Amanda and Graham do this when Graham reveals he is not D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D as Amanda thinks, but instead is actually a W-I-D-O-W-E-R.
  • Cool Old Guy: Arthur Abbott - not only is he Sophisticated as Hell, he's an esteemed former writer from the Hollywood Golden Age and helps Iris bring out her inner strength (which he refers to as "gumption").
  • Curse Cut Short: Iris trying to open the gates at Amanda's house for Miles and Maggie when she first meets them.
  • Crappy Holidays: Iris and Amanda agree to swap homes specifically to avoid this.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Iris has this moment towards the end.
  • Eating the Eye Candy
  • Fake-Out Opening: The film's opening shows a couple kissing on a riverbank, romantic music swelling... which turns out to be Miles' composition over a film clip on his computer.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Iris at the beginning of the movie.
  • Foreshadowing: In the opening montage when we are with Amanda and Ethan in the Porsche, Iris's narration goes "For some, quite inexplicably, love fades." This sets up Ethan cheating on Amanda with his receptionist and actually Amanda wanting to go on holiday, thus switching houses with Iris and setting much of the plot in motion. As does the next bit, "For others, love is simply lost." Graham is later revealed to be a widower. And again, so does the next bit, "But then, of course, love can also be found." Yes, it can, for all four main characters.
    • Actually, the whole opening montage introduces us to all the film's main characters, and sets up locations such as Miles's home and the pub that will appear later, including Miles and Maggie, Amanda and Ethan, Arthur, Graham, and ending with Iris and Jasper.
  • Fragile Flower: Iris for the first half of the movie, with regards to Jasper.
  • Genre Savvy: Iris is having a conversation with Graham and Amanda on separate lines and quickly concludes that they've met and are having a relationship with only a few hints... then angrily yelling at her brother for having sex with a woman in her house! Unfortunately for her, she can't hit the button to switch the lines...
  • Get Out: Amanda does this to Ethan at the start of the film. Near the end, Jasper turns up at Amanda's house unexpectedly. When Iris asks him if he is still engaged (he is), Iris gives this to him, literally pushing him out of the house and slamming the door in his face.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: "Well, fuck. You need this more than I do!"
  • Inner Monologue: Especially done with Amanda, whose brain turns her life into a movie trailer.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Iris and Arthur.
    • Amanda and Sophie and Olivia.
  • Jerkass: Jasper is a more low-key variant - not wholly unlikeable on the surface at least, but he's not very considerate of Iris' feelings (attempting to continue a friendship after having cheated on her), which is emphasised by his calling her during her holiday (even after she asks for space); nor can he admit his own flaws or truly seem to decide what he wants, since in the climax he tries to restart a relationship with her despite still being engaged to Sarah.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Iris and Miles, after working out their ex issues (and not without build-up).
  • Long Distance Relationship
  • Love Martyr: Iris. For three years.
  • Manly Tears
  • Match Cut: Amanda swinging her legs out of Iris's bath and the ensuing splash cuts to her driving Iris's Mini through a puddle as she pulls up outside Graham's house.
  • Meaningful Echo: Amanda and her parents used to call themselves The Three Musketeers before their messy divorce. She has an odd look on her face when Graham's daughters refer to themselves and Graham as the same name.
  • Meet Cute: Kind of lampshaded by Arthur.
  • Missing Mom: Sophie and Olivia's mother and Graham's ex-wife, revealed by him to have died two years before the events of the film.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Amanda "accidentally" checks Graham's phone with two incoming calls on mornings when Jasper is with her; noticing two girls' names (after the second time), she notes "Sophie, Olivia, Amanda. Busy guy". These turn out to be his two young daughters.
  • New Year Has Come: Everyone meets for the first time/reunites at New Years Eve.
  • Nice Guy: Miles and Graham, while imperfect, are both fundamentally decent men who are considerate of others (including their respective love interests) and a deliberate contrast to Iris and Amanda's respective exes; notably, it's their kinder traits that see the women falling in love with them. Arthur is the Cool Old Guy varient of this trope, being an embodiment of quintessential gentleman from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  • Precision F-Strike: See I Need a Freaking Drink above, spoken by Miles in the scene after he finds Maggie cheating on him, and when Iris sheds some light on her situation involving Jasper.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Amanda is about to go back into the house after kicking Ethan out, but then she turns back to him and punches him in the face twice, knocking him to the ground.
  • Product Placement: When Amanda and Iris instant message, the VAIO logo is clearly displayed centre-screen. Amanda and Iris both use Black Berry phones.
  • Race for Your Love
  • Relationship Compression
  • Romancing the Widow: A rare male example with Graham as the widow(er).
  • Sex Equals Love: Surprisingly, it's the guy (Graham) who falls first for the girl (Amanda). Or at least he admits it first. Also surprisingly, Amanda never actually says the words in return, though her surprise return to him at the end of the film makes it clear that this time she's willing to let herself fall in love with him, and may already be most of the way there.
  • Second Love: Amanda, for Graham; Miles for Iris.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Both women.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Firmly on the side of idealism.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Iris's brief experimentation with her gas stove.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The song playing at the Christmas party at the beginning is 'Last Christmas' by Wham!, a perfect description of Iris' love quarry with Jasper.
  • Unable to Cry: Amanda, mentioned by herself a number of times That is, almost right up until the end of the film when she realizes she loves Graham, asks the driver to stop the car and rushes back to Iris's house to find him.
  • Winning Over the Kids: Amanda is quick to earn the affection of Graham's daughters, and vice versa in turn.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jasper, Ethan and Maggie.