The Holiday

The feeling of the heart being shattered into smithereens, the total annihilation of all dignity and perspective is not new for anyone (if it is for you, you’re much too lucky for your own good). Which girl hasn’t shed copious tears after the death of a relationship? Which girl hasn’t shopped and ate like a maniac with her girlfriends while trying to get over a boy? Which girl hasn’t agonized, obsessed and introspected to the point of being unreasonable? Which girl hasn’t lost herself in the vicious circle of what ifs? And which girl hasn’t fallen in love again after promising herself that she never will?

If you’ve been silently nodding your head after reading the aforementioned questions, you’ll relate to The Holiday the moment it begins. Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, this 2006 release is the story of two women, Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) who, scarred by love, swap homes for two weeks to heal and stay away from their respective shambolic lives. They’ve practically given up on men and want to steer clear of them but meet total strangers on their holiday and find the much coveted true love in the most unexpected of situations.

Smitten by her colleague, Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell), Iris, a wedding columnist realizes that her unrequited love has taken over her life when she attempts suicide after she finds out that Jasper is getting married. After she cries her eyes out and reprimands herself for attempting suicide, she talks to Amanda online who’s a total wreck after she finds out that her boyfriend had been cheating on her. On an impulse, they decide to swap houses on a home exchange program which is all the more appealing to them as they live in two different parts of the world and want nothing more than to just run away from all the heartbreak.

Iris and Amanda thus set out for LA and Surrey respectively promising their own selves that they’ll get a grip upon their lives. Initially as Iris enjoys the luxury of Amanda’s plush mansion in LA, Amanda rebukes herself for being so impetuous about the house exchange as she finds the solitude a little too overwhelming and difficult to deal with.

However, her life takes a sudden upturn as Amanda meets Graham (Jude Law), Iris’s brother, and a one night stand leads to whirlwind romance between the two. On the other hand, Iris meets Miles (Jack Black), a music composer who falls in love with Iris, after he breaks up with his own girlfriend. Somewhere between all this, Iris befriends 90 year old Arthur Abbot who is an eminent screenwriter from Hollywood’s Golden era.

Kate Winslet is quite believable as the lovesick Iris wallowing in self-pity while Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of a workaholic who cannot cry in the saddest of situations is charming. Jude Law and Jack Black suit their roles perfectly. But the most endearing character in the movie is that of Arthur Abbott. The insightful 90 year old screenwriter who in the process of helping Iris start acting like the leading lady of her life, finds his own lost self esteem is played by Eli Wallach whose disarming astuteness makes the character come alive.

The most delightful aspect of the movie is its dialogues. Especially the one in which Kate Winslet describes falling in love again after being burnt by it is so true and beautifully put that you can’t help but nod in agreement.

But since it is a typical romantic comedy, it might appeal more to the female viewers than the males because most women can relate to the female protagonists in the sense that they’ve all faced heartbreaks and sworn off men only to fall in love again. Also, it is quite predictable since you can see the happy ending approaching just half an hour into the movie. However, it is an absolute feel good movie which can act as the perfect antidote to your break-up blues. It tells you that irrespective of how much you run away from love, it’ll always find you in the end.

The film is loosely based on the book Tara Road by Maeve Binchy and lets you escape the cynicism that is so prevalent about relationships and happily ever after. Watch it if you’re a hardcore romantic and believe that love is all encompassing.

Kashika Saxena

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