New Beginnings and Happy Endings

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Finally, a film that isn't so sickeningly transparent that you feel like Alice in her wonderland; stuck in a dark rabbit hole. Last night I watched The Holiday with my favourite girl friends (minus a few), thinking that I really couldn't muster the enthusiasm to watch another drivelling rom-com with predictably dopey characters and a distinctly unimaginative plot that makes you feel like you're going to do an Elvis. (Get a stonking great gun out and blast a hole in your TV screen... then die on the toilet).

This little beauty entered my eye space last night and I absolutely loved it. I'm the hardest person to please when watching a film; as a film student I subconsciously analyse everything, from the depth of the characters to the continuity of the shots, my mind ticks over the whole time. (Probably why I'm such a miserable old git about most Hollywood films) But this one stood out like a snow drop on a moor covered in heather.

Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law provided an odd combination, but work brilliantly with the storyline. The driving force of the plot comes about when Iris (Winslet) and Amanda (Diaz) have troubles with the men in their lives and need some way of escaping their own disaster. They meet online, after Iris puts her house in Surrey on a house swapping website, and decide to swap lives for two weeks over Christmas. They each need to rediscover something about themselves to get out of the hopeless mess their in; Amanda is a big shot movie trailer producer who lives in a huge house in L.A, but has no capacity to fall in love or feel real emotion, she can't cry. Iris is still in love with her ex boyfriend who cheated on her three years ago and she still hasn't moved on. These problems, which do sound rather trivial, are dealt with in the most honest way, with Winslet admitting that she needs to move on but just can't let go and Diaz doing anything just to feel some real emotion.

Although this is a love story with inevitable outcomes, the most beautiful relationship is platonic, shared with Iris and Arthur - a ninety year old film writer whom she meets in L.A. Their friendship is just delightful, and she spends time at his house, helping him out with everyday things while he imparts wisdom and anecdotes from his days in the film industry.

The characterisation is sublime, with the charming Winslet playing a true English rose, someone whom I really connected with; her honesty at her own problems is refreshing and her recovery from her case of unrequited love is inspiring. She blossoms into a new woman, captivating and beautiful.

The combination of English and American actors, locations and situations work superbly and the outcome of the story is just lovely. I think I'm gushing a little too much but I was quite excited at the discovery of a real, honest film. Definitely a must see.


Dave 28 April 2009 at 17:01  

I assume from the plot you've described that the film is "The Holiday". When I saw the film I found that I didn't enjoy it. There was nothing to draw me into the film, no twists, no dilemmas, and predictable outcomes. I'm not a big fan of chick flicks, and only watch them if there is humour involved eg. Bridget Jones. However, I know that most of the girls I've spoken to regarding this film think it is one of the best films they've ever seen. Personally I prefer films like Snatch, Fight Club and City of God. But maybe it just highlights the difference between men and women's tastes?

Media_Savvy 28 April 2009 at 17:12  

Dave - I dig Fight Club and co. as much as the next sweaty film buff and I'm not very keen on rom-coms - as I stated at the start of my post - but this one was different, it might have been because I could really associate with some of the situations, which is perhaps a 'girl thing'. A few of us watched 'Special' the other night too, that was great, and NOT a chick flick :)

Dave 28 April 2009 at 17:43  

Fair play, my first post sounded patronisingly like 'boys like explosions and girls like flowers'. Have not seen that film you mentioned, however I am looking forward to watching some films soon to be released - Wolverine, Star Trek, and Transformers 2 to name a few...

-mim 1 May 2009 at 01:25  

oi! why can't i follow you back ms Savvy?! i want to procrastinate and i can't while theres no FOLLOW button on your page!...or actually... maye its helping me to procrastinate for longer... hmmm. tactical thinking!

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