The Holiday (2006)
July 19, 2023 10:24 AM - Subscribe

Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other's countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.

Two women, one (Cameron Diaz) from America and one (Kate Winslet) from Britain, swap homes at Christmastime after bad breakups with their boyfriends. Each woman finds romance with a local man (Jude Law, Jack Black) but realizes that the imminent return home may end the relationship.

Leah Rozen: Midway through this delightful comedy, an old-time Hollywood screenwriter (Wallach) declares that he tried always to imbue his leading ladies with “gumption.” It’s a quality the two heroines of The Holiday start off needing more of. But by movie’s end, both happily display it in abundance. . .

Writer-director Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give and What Women Want) is a whiz at turning out fun, frothy commercial fare. She writes likable characters, hires adept actors (Winslet is the standout) and adds a subplot (current Hollywood fare versus that of a bygone era) that combine to make a welcome Holiday gift.

Anne Cohen: This was Winslet’s only foray into rom-com territory, and she’s a treasure. It’s a supreme injustice that she’s paired with Jack Black, the film’s only casting misstep, whose insistence on humming every film score known to man (he is a film composer, get it?) is impossibly grating. But again, he is not the point of her story. What’s more, the film wisely focuses more time and attention on Iris’ lovely friendship with her new neighbor, legendary screenwriter Arthur Abbott (the late Eli Wallach), who regales her with tales of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Winslet and Wallach share infinitely more chemistry than her and Black, whose character, Miles, bizarrely narrates his every creepy gesture (lingering after a cheek kiss, a cringey boob graze) under the very mistaken impression that it makes him seen like a nice guy. The scene in which Arthur gets honored for his achievement in cinema is a tearjerker that nicely dovetails with Iris’ own moment of self-empowerment — theirs is a touching, platonic love story.

Elizabeth Logan: Pretend you've never seen The Holiday, which came out 10 years ago (December 8, 2006), and let me pitch to you two movies. . .

But they're the same movie! They're The Holiday, a good movie ruined by being cut with a mediocre movie, like a baggie of grade-A weed someone dumped a bunch of parsley into and then charged me $15 to smoke.

I didn't feel this way when I saw the movie back in 2006. I remember liking it; it was one of the first movies I saw with my parents in theaters that we enjoyed equally. It was popular with my friends too. We used to pretend to cry and then say, "I'm a wee-pah!" imitating Jude Law's accent from a pivotal scene near the end of the film. Oh, did we crush on him. You have to remember that this was around the same time that Derek was crying his way into everyone's hearts on Grey's Anatomy. Sensitive hot guys were all the rage. And Kate was great and Jack Black was great and who doesn't like love during the holidays?

posted by Carillon (4 comments total)
I liked this one more than I expected! I will say the Winslet/Wallach plot line was my favorite, but it's all pretty solid. They didn't really need the Jack Black character to end up with Winslet, and rather than the symmetry of their experiences improving the story, it detracts a little. The fakeout where you don't realize Jude Law has a kid is pretty solid though. Light, but in a really fun way.
posted by Carillon at 10:27 AM on July 19, 2023

It's hard in a modern rom com to reasonably keep people apart who want to be together. But the reasons here were mostly surprising and endearing.
posted by rikschell at 4:30 AM on July 20, 2023

The Glamour review aligns with what I thought of the film when I saw it. Loved the Kate Winslet bit, did not like the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law bit. Don't know why the second reviewer dislikes Jack Black so much - I really enjoyed him in this.

A couple of days ago, it came out that Robert Downey Jr. auditioned for the Jude Law role and Jimmy Fallon auditioned for the Jack Black role. They got so far as doing a read with Winslet and Diaz.
posted by rednikki at 10:37 AM on July 21, 2023

This is a Christmastime comfort watch for me. Jude Law may be my least favorite successful actor, but somehow he works in this. I am a book editor, and holiday movies and romcoms often have a tendency to have unrealistic book publishing details in them. The way Jude Law's character talks about editing books is awful...but it's rare in its romcom publishing believability because he's also totally a privileged nepo baby.

I've always really liked the contrast between how one couple basically sleeps together the moment they meet, and the other romantic storyline culminates in a single closed-mouth kiss. It's unusual to have two (and only two) parallel stories with equal weight anyway, but that extra contrast really adds something, especially because it's not hammered too hard.
posted by lampoil at 6:59 AM on July 23, 2023

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