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Movie Review

Last Holiday

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual reference

Reviewed by: Rosemarie Ute Hoffman

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 13, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
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Copyright, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures
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Featuring: Queen Latifah, Alicia Witt, LL Cool J, Giancarlo Esposito, Gérard Depardieu
Director: Wayne Wang
Producer: Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey, Richard Vane
Distributor: Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures

“She always thought she was somebody… and she was.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) lives a small life tucked inside big dreams. A shy cookware salesperson for a New Orleans retail outlet, she handles knives and skillets with the flair of a master chef. But when Georgia learns her days are numbered, she throws caution to the wind and embarks on a dream holiday vacation to a grand resort in Europe. There, thinking she has nothing to lose, Georgia undergoes a metamorphosis… and her transformation affects everyone around her. From snowy slopes to spectacular spas, delectable dinners to midnight balls, Georgia is going to live a lifetime of fun in just a few weeks.”

“Last Holiday” is an awakening of sorts that pulls at the heartstrings. Queen Latifah, who portrays Ms. Georgia Byrd, reminds us that life is to be lived to its fullest—and sometimes as though we are dying. Her character is a quiet and demure do-gooder who works for a retail department store, and who dreams of possibilities.

Although she has big dreams, her fears keep her from fulfilling them until she is diagnosed with a fatal disease. Georgia is a no-frills woman who finds it difficult to muster up the courage to share her feelings with her love interest Sean Matthews (LL Cool J). Sean and Georgia’s secret love for one another is nothing more than a dance, whereby unwanted purchases and run-ins at the department store are the usual. It is not until the very end when Sean travels halfway around the world to get his queen that they finally connect romantically.

The most encouraging theme throughout this film is the on-going dialogue of Georgia with God. After her world turns upside down with news of her sudden illness, she questions God repeatedly, “Lord, why me?” During a Sunday service as a choir member, Georgia questions God again aloud during a lull. She is finally motivated to not only use her full voice, but steps out in front of the congregation and down the pews in a gospel flair with a few questions that include, “Come on Lord, why? I followed your commandments. Why, Lord!”

In a desperate attempt to understand her destiny, she cries over a bottle of wine, while she asks herself why she did not pursue those things she dreamed of. After having an epiphany about her life not yet being over, she books a trip to a destination where there are healing waters—Karlovy Vary—in the Czech Republic.

She arrives at the Grand Hotel Pupp, a complex of buildings first erected by the order of the then Lord Mayor Deiml in 1701. With its large-scale columns, crystal chandeliers and gilded cherubim that adorn the lobby ceiling it is enough to bring anyone to tears. And, Georgia with her new appetite for life is eager to share in the beauty of her surroundings.

Trying to live out the best of her last few weeks at this fantasy getaway, Georgia meets up with the most unlikely characters. Senator Dillings (Giancarlo Esposito) from her home state of Louisiana is there, who just happened to pull a no-show the Sunday before at her church. The senator has an obvious for sale sign on his forehead when he is found in the company of Matthew Kragen (Timothy Hutton) author of a get rich book, and owner of Kragen stores. Matthew’s obnoxious attitude towards life and people has him in competition, while the rest of his intimate group are being captivated by Georgia’s new found freedom in living, loving, laughing, and letting loose.

Georgia strikes up a surprise friendship with Chef Didier (Grard Depardieu) of the Grand Hotel Pupp. They discover they both share a passion for food and during this unexpected dish of friendship, Chef Didier shares with Georgia the secret of life while using a turnip analogy—an undesirable vegetable that gets better—“It’s not how you start, but how you finish!”

The movie does allow an offhanded remark with reference to Ms. Burns (Alicia Witt) the mistress of Matthew Kragen “going down” on him. Unfortunately, there are numerous expressions of expletives, which are strewn throughout, but not exaggerated to the point that it subtracts from the inspiring story line. Still, parents/caregivers please consider that serious illnesses and dying are sensitive topics for young children, and some preteens.

During what should be her last weeks of life, Georgia discovers a few truths that many never realize in their senior years. In a poignant scene, where she talks to herself in a mirror she professes, “You’re so lucky. You didn’t get everything you wanted. I should have laughed and loved more. I should have seen the world.”

Her candor does not stop there. She sheds further light on life’s secret during a dinner party where she tells her new friends that, “The things we care about are pretty worthless.” A future without God is worthless, regardless of our allotted time here on Earth. What makes a fulfilled life is not about acquiring or doing things, but should be a life driven by God’s purposes along with being free to love and laugh, with courage and a full voice! We should be more concerned with our relationship with Christ than fulfilling a to-do list before our eternity begins.

2 Timothy 1:7-10—“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Overall, wholesome movie. This movie has an eye opening theme. “Life is but a vapor,” is what it brings to mind. No sexual content or violence. Counted strong language approximately 4 times. This is an excellent ministry tool for women ages 30 to 50. Teaches life is precious, be honest to yourself and others. Would be willing to spend $ to view this one.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Sherry G, age 38
Positive—I was hoping this movie would be clean and funny, and I wasn’t disappointed. Last Holiday was a very entertaining and fun film, and Queen Latifah did an excellent job as the shy Georgia. There were only a few objectionable words in the movie, and no “innuendos” or offensive jokes, which I was very happy about! Also, although Latifah’s character isn’t perfect (she does use at least one swear word in the movie), she is portrayed as a woman who loves God and keeps believing in Him and talking to Him throughout the film, even after she hears devasting news. This movie actually encouraged me in my faith! Georgia seems to learn that God always has His hand in her life… which is a very uplifting thing for Christians to remember!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Nicole, age 20
Positive—This is a very enoyable and funny movie. I wish Hollywood would sit up and listen. They can make great comedies without the foul language and sex.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Elaine Blackwell, age 45
Positive—“The Last Holiday” is the remake of a classic of the same name. Although I have not seen the predecessor, I do understand that the movie is quite different, especially with concern to the ending. When I went to see this movie, I was honestly had very negative expectations because I thought that the previews just looked pretty lame. However, when I was done, I was presently surprised and really enjoyed the movie all together.

“The Last Holiday” is a romantic comedy about a store clerk with a passion for cooking and perusing her dreams of opening up a restaurant. One day while talking to the man of her dreams, a charming and good looking fellow store clerk, she bumps her head and gets knocked out. While getting an MRI, they find a tumor in the X-Ray and tell her that she only has 3 weeks to live. She realizes that she has never actually done any of the things she wanted to do, so she cashes out all of her stocks and bonds and sets out on a journey to do fulfill her hearts desires . Cook, Ski, Relax and Live the Life of a Princess. She goes to France, leaving the world behind to make her last days an adventure to remember only in the next life. When she arrives, she innocently is mistaken for a lady of stature and elegance. Her heart transcends beyond any social standings and her presence commands the presence of the esteemed and privileged.

I do not want to give away too much of the movie but there are quite a bit of memorable moments in the movie that just give you a sense of joy romance . This role was created for Queen Latifah and her true essence and personally come through brighter than ever. Lativiah is one of the kindest and sweetest Christian women in Hollywood and the kind of person who has never forgotten where she has come from and how she got there. Queen Latifah is truly the queen of kindness and personality.

This movie does have its flaws and does have its points of inconsistencies, however that is easily overcome with the sweet and tender plot and the wholesome nature of the characters. Unlike many romantic comedies, sex is not the vehicle in which the two characters fall in love and the two that are in fact in an illicit relationship are shown to be in a very wrong. The directing is fine and the movie is well edited and the script is solid. The acting is stellar and really what make this movie just a lot of fun to watch.

Principles: This movie opens with Queen Latifah walking by a billboard that says, “Christ is the Reason for the Season” and the subtle Christian hints do not end there. There are many different circumstances of where the Queen talks to God, giving him honor while questioning her imminent death. Her respect for the Lord never ends and one of the best parts is that the Queen actually has a very personal relationship with the Lord that we as Christians should really aspire to have.

Parental Warning: Personally, I think think this movie could have been G rated if it were not for 1 joke in the movie. There is a part of the movie where Queen Lativah’s boss is at the Hotel and he is with another woman. Queen Latifah befriends the lady/girl and helps her out of her situation. The movie does not have any foul language that I remember and there is only 1 dirty joke that I remember as well.

I give this movie 3 of 4 stars because it is just a very good principled and enjoyable movie. Special Kudos to LL Cool J for doing a great job as well!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—John Kehrli, age 31
Positive—Wonderful movie. One of the cleanest and best movies I’ve seen in years. Definitely worth spending a few dollars to go see.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Robert, age 21
Positive—This was overall a good movie. The scenery was beautiful and quality of the movie was good. It was very upbeat and the moral of the story of was good. However, I think it is offensive for younger children. The movie had several offensive words and a couple of offensive situations. The overall movie was good.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Viewer, age 49
Positive—…there were several scenes which made us uncomfortable. In one scene, Georgia bumps her head on a cabinet and becomes unconscious. She then has a vision of her male counterpart undressing and erotically sucking on his fingers in preparation for… well, you can figure it out. In another scene, a supporting actress is complaining of neck pain during a massage and Georgia tells her it is due to her having “gone down” on her boss, who happens to be married and cheating on his wife. Overall, it was a cute film with some good moral lessons to be learned, but I would personally not let anyone younger than 15 see it without giving it some thought.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—David, age 45
Positive—Very good clean movie. I was delighted with Queen’s performance and the cute story line. The romantic element was in good, clean taste, and the lesson of the movie, a good Biblical one. I think I counted only about 3 curse words. Definitely a good one for someone wanting to go out and see something clean.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Debbie Wilson, age 31
Positive—What a joy! It is so rare to freely enjoy movies at the theater, and this is one I would like to thank the entertainment industry for! We laughed, we cried, and we walked out wanting it to continue! It was also refreshing to see Christianity as uplifting and positive. They presented God as faithful! Wow!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Nancy, age 52


Comments from young people
Positive—I really thought this movie had a good point, good acting and a great storyline. Queen Latifah is good at acting and has a beutiful way of portraying her character. I love her in this movie. As the other actors go they too were excellent. I think that in a christian perspective there is nothing wrong with this movie. The only thing that got to me was the fact that the guy was cheating on his wife with his, I think it was his secretary. But that got a good ending. Also it doesn’t show any dissobeying clothes, just everyday clothes we wear. I truly think that this movie gives a good moral statement, to enjoy life and see the gift that God has offered. I give this movie a 100% and advise everyone of every age to see it.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Lacey, age 14
Positive—I went to this movie with my friends not knowing what it would be like. I was happily surprised and laughed through the whole movie, being throughly entertained. There are only a few curse words, and I think one bad joke. Throughout the movie Georgia keeps talking to God, and there’s a point in the movie where she’s at church. The movie was awesome, and I would go see it again if I could!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Alexis, age 13
Positive—I love this movie, I thought it would be kind of stupid, But, it really isn’t. It’s a good movie, and it teaches you to follow your dreams. I don’t know why it’s rated PG-13. There’s nothing really bad in it.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Ashley, age 13
Positive—“Last Holiday” woke me up to the reality of our short life on Earth. I realized that we have such a short time to do so much stuff: fun and not-so-fun. Georgia Byrd, after realizing she would die soon, helped others she came into contact with see the things they needed to fix “now.” Christ gave her an awesome sense of humor, and she used that gift to convict in a kind and encouraging but frank way.

Christians need to take action now, not wait a day or two. Christ could come anytime. We all have friends, neighbors, family and strangers we need to reach. Georgia helped reveal new and inspiring ways to witness to others.

The sexual references although existant did not take away from the purpose or plot line of the movie.

I love how she talks to God boldly in front of others; it helps people see that she is a Christian. The hotel is amazing as well… I would truly like to see such a place. Georgia takes risks that make others more open, and creates new memories for her. I would watch this again anytime!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—S. Bird, age 13
Positive—“Last Holiday” has got to be one of my favortie movies of all time. Queen Latifah is such an inspirational actress and she can portray so many different roles. This movie I have seen at least 20 times and it never gets old. There is no sex in the movie (except for a little making out in the elevator between Matthew Kragen and his assistant. But it’s only like 5 seconds.) Otherwise, it’s just a clean, humorous, lovable movie. And the fact that she has faith in the Lord throughout the movie is wonderful too! I recommend this movie to everyone above the age of 13. It’s not so much a kids comedy, more of teen/adult comedy. Love it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rebecca, age 14 (USA)