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Tree up, fire lit and chocolates ready - now for a Christmassy film.
The Holiday (DVD)
Member Name: MelissaRuth
The Holiday (DVD)
Advantages: Easy to watch. Great actors. Warm feel good Christmas film
Disadvantages: None if you like a light hearted bit of romance. Lots if action packed adventure is required.
I'm about as far away from being a film buff as it is possible to be, only going to the cinema once or twice a year, but if I do catch up with a DVD my preference will always be to watch a chick flick genre of film. While visiting my grandparents I saw that my very trendy 89 year old grandmother had this DVD on her shelf and as it looked like a good chick flick, with a News of the World quote on the box saying 'Bridget Jones's Diary without the Big Knickers!', I asked if I could borrow it. My 16 year old daughter had been taking exams so I thought that it would make a good film for us to relax and watch together as she unwound after weeks of study.
So, on the night of the last of a block of ten exams, and with her younger sister dispatched to a sleepover, we settled down with a bar of Cadbury's dairy milk and 'The Holiday'. My husband even managed to remain in the room too and watched; although not his first choice of film he obviously didn't find it too off putting.
The film is set equally in Surrey, England and Los Angeles in two startlingly different but beautiful settings. Firstly we meet Iris, acted by Kate Winslet, who works in journalism and lives in a beautiful old stone cottage in Surrey. It looks like a typical child like drawing of a house with two windows up and two down and a pretty central front door, decorated in this case with a holly wreath, as the film is romantically set at Christmas time. It looks so picturesque with a cottage garden exiting through a picket fence onto snowy fields that overlook a quaint church spire in one of the prettiest of English villages.
Iris's opposite number is Amanda played by Cameron Diaz who is a successful owner of a company that make trailers for movies. Amanda lives in a huge white painted LA mansion with pool and plentiful gadgets.
Both actresses portray really believable characters as they each deal with the pain of a broken or unrequited relationship, although I have to admit feeling more drawn to the character played by Diaz and her storyline. Iris and Amanda both feel the need to escape from their romantic situations which have each reached a point of catastrophic failure and Iris places an ad for her idyllic cottage on a house swap website. Sitting at her desk, overwhelmed with emotion and searching for a holiday destination, Amanda spots the quintessentially English photograph of the snow surrounded cottage and replies immediately. The next day sees the two girls crossing the Atlantic, one in style, one maybe in not such luxurious of circumstance and beginning their two week vacations in these houses that are a world apart.
I loved watching the reactions of Iris and Amanda as they discover the delights of their holiday homes and surroundings. Quite a bit of humour comes into this part of the film as they respond in such different ways to the cosy winter scene and the sunny luxurious settings.
This film has a real feel good warmth to it and I anticipated from the outset that it would involve boy meets girl situations. I hoped that like most of this type of film that there would be a fairytale like happy ever after ending. I don't think that it will spoil anything to say that they each encounter one or two male companions, most notably Graham played by Jude Law, who is Iris's brother, and Miles played by Jack Black, but other than to say that the majority of the storyline revolves around the antics of these four main characters over their two week vacation, I will not say any more.
The soundtrack also adds to the cosy nature of this film. Quite often a Christmas track will be playing in the background and a little bit of 'Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas' or 'Santa Baby' is guaranteed to leave me with a warm feeling of positive expectation. It is a perfect film to watch on a cold winters evening with the curtains closed and even better still with a log fire roaring in the grate.
All in all this was just the type of film that I had anticipated that it would be and I agree that it has a similar feel, although a quite different plot, to the Bridget Jones films. Rarely do I watch an entire film; I'm a bit of a fidget and usually become distracted and end up doing a bit of scrapbooking or a jigsaw puzzle and losing the plot. With this film however, I remained lying on the sofa for the full 2 hours and 10 minutes running time without any thoughts of amusing myself with other hobbies. This is definitely something of a rarity and must be evidence of the quality of this film. My daughter also thoroughly enjoyed it and I know that my grandmother did too, so it has a very broad age range of appeal - 16 right through to 89+. My husband has failed to comment on its appeal for a 40 something year old male! It has an age 12 rating and I think that my 12 year old daughter would have enjoyed it too. It does include the odd swear word, but there are no explicit sex scenes and no violence so I think that I would be happy to let her watch it if she wanted to in the future.
The film was released in 2007, so is getting on a bit now but I think that it still retains appeal and is a film that could be watched many times over. New copies are available from Amazon for £2.99 or used copies from just 11p or if you're feeling the need of an even bigger burst of chick flick watching it is available as a dual DVD with Love Actually for £5.00 or with Bridget Jones Diary and Bridget Jones, the Edge of reason for £7.93. These seem pretty good combinations of well matched films - a perfect girls night in with friends! You can also catch it on ITV 1 this Christmas at 10.15 on Friday 30th December.
Summary: An easy to watch Christmassy chick flick