Monday, May 07, 2007

Movie Review: The Holiday

Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is an entrepreneur who runs a highly successful business making movie trailers from her luxurious home in Southern California.

She is much less lucky with men. A week before Christmas, she breaks up with her boyfriend.

Iris (Kate Winslet) is a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in London. She is still madly in love with an old boyfriend who just announced his engagement to someone else at the company Christmas party.

And he expects Iris to help edit the book he is writing.

Desperate not to spend the Christmas holidays in a setting that reminds her of her recent romantic failure, Amanda goes online and finds a house-swapping site. She sees a picture of Iris's quaint cottage in Surrey and e-mails her.

The next day, Amanda is jetting to England (first class) while Iris is off to Los Angeles in coach. Amanda finds that English cottages are quaint, small, at the end of unsnowplowed country lanes where taxis won't venture. And they lack central heat.

Iris discovers that she now has a pool and more space than she knows what to do with.

However, each discovers the other shares their taste in music.

Her first night, Amanda hears a knock on the door and discovers Iris's brother, Graham (Jude Law). He is absolutely drunk and wants to spend the night on the couch--which is his standard procedure when his sister is home. Amanda figures that here is the perfect one-night stand, because she decided to return to So Cal in the morning.

However, Graham finds Amanda interesting and she finds Graham intriguing. She changes her mind and stays. Big surprise--if she hadn't, the movie would have been a short.

Iris, meanwhile, has met Miles, a musician who works for Amanda. And she meets Amanda's neighbor, Arthur (Eli Wallach), who was a famous screenwriter during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood. Arthur tells Iris that she should be the leading lady in her own life; instead she is playing "the friend." Arthur then begins to school Iris in the "classics"--movies she absolutely needs to watch. While picking these up in a video store she runs into Miles who then begins to sing the opening theme song of each of these movies. A friendship is born.

Arthur, meanwhile, has received an invitation from the Writers' Guild. They want to honor his work. He is convinced everyone has forgotten him and doesn't want to go. Iris and Miles coerce him into accepting.

Back in England, Amanda discovers Graham isn't quite the carefree, man-about-town she thought he was.

Miles has a girlfriend, an aspiring actress who has a small part in a movie shooting in New Mexico.

So will these people ever figure out who they are supposed to be with? How many people will show up for Arthur's tribute (he's worried there will only be about 11 people there)? Will Iris learn to be a leading lady? Will Amanda learn to cry?

Hey--this is a chick flick! However, it's also a light-hearted romantic comedy with enough energy and goofiness that even Hubs enjoyed it. All the stars are sweet, likeable people. Even those who've "done them wrong" aren't ogres. So grab the popcorn, a blanket, and snuggle up for a pleasant little movie.

On the March Hare scale: 3.5 out 5 Golden Tickets