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Movie Review

The Holiday

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language

Reviewed by: Susan Quirk

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Romance comedy
2 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 8, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Sony Pictures
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Copyright, Sony Pictures

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Featuring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Rufus Sewell, Edward Burns
Director: Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give,” “The Parent Trap,” “Father of the Bride”)
Producer: Suzanne Farwell, Nancy Meyers, Bruce Block
Distributor: Sony Pictures

Successful film trailer producer, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) gives her philandering man-friend the boot from her L.A. mansion; small time English reporter, Iris (Kate Winslet) is devastated to hear that her lover, Jasper (Rufus Sewell) has become engaged to another woman. These girls need a holiday far, far away. So they switch continents and homes for a two week respite to heal their broken hearts.

Amanda begins her stay at Iris’ English cottage by talking her way into a one-night stand with Iris’ drunken, widowed brother, Graham (Jude Law)who has stopped by to sleep off too many pints at the pub. Amanda awkwardly seduces him making it clear her vision for this coupling is one night of non-committal sex. Iris, jubilant in her LA paradise, but lonely for company, befriends octogenarian screenwriter Arthur (Eli Wallach) and catches the attention of soundtrack, composer Miles (Jack Black) who shares with Iris the problem of emotional bondage to an unworthy partner.

“The Holiday” is a light-weight, girly comedy that trivializes heavy issues. The night I saw this film, the theater was filled to the brim with single women and girls all geared up to laugh, cheer and mostly cry for the charming yet heartbroken heroines. We can only do this, though, if we have accepted a new set of sexual mores based on selfishness. Amanda has rescued herself from a promiscuous partner, but immediately becomes even more promiscuous herself. She has kicked out her old boyfriend for cheating, only to initiate sex with a stranger that may be a married man. So, is cheating bad or not? Only if you get caught? Or if someone finds out? Or is it fine if it all turns out in the end? Huh?

Iris, likewise, is the victim of cheating, and the audience empathizes with her pain and wants to offer her a shoulder to cry on. But, if we force ourselves to look under the covers, is she actually a victimizer herself? She has remained with her lover, even as he courted another woman. The character of Iris is portrayed as the sweetest of all women, who is even kind to old men. But, what if we saw her from Jasper’s fiancé’s perspective? She is a cheater, also, but we never, ever see her in this light. Apparently, cheating is bad if you are being cheated on, but not if you are the cheater. “The Holiday” encourages us to keep these things one dimensional please!

This film contains numerous scenes of passionate kissing, an unmarried couple waking up in bed, and several obscenities, including one exclamation of the “F” word.

“The Holiday” does throw us a few tidbits of truth. It is obvious from the beginning that both women seek real love in monogamous relationships. Upon learning that Graham has two little girls from his previous marriage, Amanda understands that commitment to Graham would entail loving these precious children also. The ego-centric base of Iris’ relationship with Jasper is aptly summed up by her line, “We both need to fall out of love with you.” Iris shares a tender moment with Miles as he removes a mote from her eye, symbolic of the necessity to examine their own lives more closely.

In the morning, following their sexual tryst, as Graham awkwardly prepares to leave, Amanda mentions with some humor, “We hardly ‘know’ each other.” Graham responds wryly with an answer that I interpreted with a Biblical truth, “I can’t agree with that.” C.S. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape Letters, “The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is setup between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.” We cannot take a Holiday from this important truth.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—I was very charmed by “The Holiday.” This is a sweet movie which delves slightly into real life problems plagued by real life people. It touches on how easily we detach ourselves from truly living, out of protection while also pointing out on how many of us leach onto someone out of the same means. Sometimes we place all of our hopes and dreams on the shoulders of one person, even when then repetitively let us down. This requires little risk from us as we are still, oddly enough, in control of our hurt.

This movie really is about hurt… people who are hurting, the lives they lead and how they got there… It was beautifully portrayed, heart warming and, in my opinion, modestly done. Considering most movies today, the “love” scenes were pretty modest. As a story goes, it falls short of pointing out that Christ is the only way the lives of these people could truly grow more beautiful, but we can’t really expect that from a secular film. The way their stories conclude, I thought, was a pretty good second. It isn’t simply about romantic love, but about several different types of love, and giving of yourself in the process. Typically the entertainment industry focuses on selfish love but this movie didn’t do that at all.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Misty Wagner, age 30
Positive—I didn’t like the fact that Amanda had sex with Graham on the first night, I didn’t like the fact that they had sex in the first place. There’s no “SEX” scene though, but the movie was amazing! I laughed the whole time. Also, I could see myself in the two girls all the time, the way they react to things is exactly how I react some times. I left the theater feeling great about being a woman, and I had a big smile on my face. It’s really a chick flick. I loved it.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Kattie, age 21
Positive—I really enjoyed this film. I did, however, dislike the fact that Cameron Diaz and Jude Law's characters had sex the first night she arrived in London, not having known each for more than an hour… if that. Also, the fact that they slept together at least 2 more times after the first encounter in two weeks. That upset me, but that is Hollywood… no morals or Biblical principles. Other than that, I enjoyed the film. The acting was superb—even on Diaz’s part. Jack Black, was a good choice for the role of Miles… for his first more seriously girly movie, he did well. And, of course, Jude Law's rather attractive looks, made this a great chick flick!!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Aleshia Horner, age 18
Positive—I enjoyed this movie. It is about two women who have been self-destructive in their love lives, who need to learn about themselves and how to truly love a man. Each in her own way struggles through her emotions and finally takes a better turn. Iris finally lets go of her unfaithful lover, who has been using her for years, and Amanda finally opens herself up to a deeper relationship and is able to cry. Although the sexual immorality was abundant, in the case of Amanda, yet the story transcended these failings/sins, and showed people striving to be better. The change they undergo is apparent and gives the movie some moral value. I see the mercy and the grace of God who can take us out of our filth and turn us around.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Halyna Barannik, age 60
Positive—This was a love story about two completely different women who were involved with men who were using them and not really in love with them. The 2 women decide it’s time for a change (during the holidays) and happen to switch homes and then find love. The film was not Christian in any since of the word, but it was very uplifting emotionally when they both find love. Cameron Diaz did just jump in the bed with Jude Law, because of her emotional state and it was written in the script. The situation made you want them to fall in love and indeed they do. The 2 little girls that played Jude Law’s daughters were so cute, and one could admire his love and concern for his children. It is a movie for people who like love stories. My daughters and I enjoyed it very much.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Donna M., age 51
Negative—Last night my wife and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary by enjoying a fine meal and then catching a movie. What we thought would be a fun, romantic comedy (“The Holiday”) turned into a great disappointment. While the stars of the movie were all very “beautiful” and/or “cute and cuddly” on the outside, their characters were very shallow and immoral. The title “holiday” brings to mind a time of no cares and no commitments, and accept for the somewhat touching story of the elderly man, the vast majority of this movie was a barrage of sex outside of marriage, drunkenness and immoral relationships with no cares and no commitments. One leading lady says good bye to her “live in lover” because he has been having sex with his secretary, only to fly transcontinental to have sex with a complete stranger on their first encounter. In fact, we find out later that this complete stranger, who spends much of his time either drunk or craving sex, happens to also be the father of two small children. This movie rambles on and on while going no where, and depicts much of the chaos and devastation our “if it feels good do it” culture creates in relationships apart from commitment and purity. As a Christian father and husband, I would encourage the body of Christ to stay away from this film both at the movies and in the video stores (future).
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Pat, age 45
Negative—I was very disappointed by “The Holiday.” My dislike does not even stem from the inappropriate sexual content or from Cameron Diaz's unlikable character. The movie was slow, boring, and lacking in any redeeming qualities. It was a waste of time and money.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Anne, age 22