Two women find themselves in very similar positions, romantically speaking, while geographically being in different countries altogether. In the comedy THE HOLIDAY, one American woman suggests a house swap for the holidays with one British woman - and both women are in the midst of heartbreak over the ragged endings of relationships with guys.
The first half of the movie was watched one night, and while it was cute, it was also irritatingly clichéd and predictably lacking in anything resembling basic values. It seemed to be the classic "while in another country, I'll shack up with a stranger" tale of woe that grows more and more complex and messy as the plot advances. The four leading actors in THE HOLIDAY have never been favorites of mine anyway: Jude Law and Jack Black play the hook-ups, and Kate Winslet with Cameron Diaz play the women plagued with man troubles.
The movie was picked up again another night, out of sheer boredom and only because the money had already been 'wasted' on the rental. While it was exactly what was expected, it was also - quite surprisingly - much more as well. It had unexpected depth and sweetness, and a lot of surprises.
Neighbors and community play an unexpected role. Especially wonderful is a man who lives near Amanda's (Diaz) house in Los Angeles. Iris (Winslet) befriends an elderly gem of a man named Albert. He brings a delicious humanity to the film, along with a particularly warm comedic tone.
There are also a couple of unexpected flashes of other familiar faces through out the movie, which beg rewinding to see again - was that who I thought it was? And, indeed, it was!
If I'd realized that Nancy Meyers was the writer and director of this film, it would have been obvious - even unseen - that it would be a good one. This movie might just make me change my mind about all four of those actors. THE HOLIDAY will have to be watched again before it is returned. And then, it might just have to be owned. Sometimes, it is very good and happy to be proved wrong.
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