As you all know by now one of my greatest loves is Christmas films. As a permanent child, I fucking love everything about Christmas and fall victim to the festive spirit in all forms. However, there is nothing that annoys me more than a cliched rom-com. So I’m a little bit torn when it comes to Christmas rom-com. Half of me hates everybody for being so bloody oblivious whilst the other half just get caught up in the festivities. Of course, there are some special cases that manage to be so fucking awful that I don’t need to worry about potential warm and fuzzy feelings. You can take a look at my Top 10 Worst Christmas Films list for more details on some of these but I want to focus on a film that I get more resentful towards with every passing year. I’ll be honest that has a lot to do with my annoyance at Jude Law’s questionable acting talents but there is a lot to The Holiday that we should be opposing.
Now I really like Jack Black. He was one of the main reasons I was so keen to so the new Goosebumps film. You can put him in the shittest of concepts and he’ll still make things enjoyable. Particularly, you might think, when he’s paired up with the equally lovable Kate Winslet. I mean the idea of those two falling in love at Christmas should make your heart grow at least 1 size bigger. However, Nancy Meyers has managed to create a romantic-comedy so cloying and formulaic that even something that sentimentality is all but lost.
The Holiday spans two continents and follows four characters who are all losers in love. Winslet plays Iris Simpkins, a writer for the Daily Telegraph who is desperately in love with a man who only manipulates her feelings for his professional gain. When the object of her affection gets engaged Iris skips town and swaps homes with Amanda Woods, a Hollywood bigwig responsible for creating movie trailers. Obviously, the pair then meet their ideal romantic match and the plot is dragged out until everyone realises what is starring them in the face.
That’s the problem with everyone in romantic comedies: they’re all either fucking stupid or just blind to the obvious. If people were honest and up-front with one another then there would be no need to mess around with misunderstandings and pointless wallowing. What is about people that insists romance be hard when it’s depicted on screen? I don’t know about you but I’ve never had any hilarious mishaps when it comes to romance.
But I guess you can’t really blame The Holiday for that. It’s just one of the awful tropes of the genre. What you can blame The Holiday for is the insipid characters. Black’s character, Miles, is hardly developed at all and Jude Law is playing a single father in an incredibly lazy attempt to create sympathy for a one-dimensional figure. There is nothing for these actor’s to work with and even Kate Winslet, who could do an amazing job with anything, is left lost. Iris has no depth. She’s a nice but pathetic female who is defined simply through one dodgy relationship. It’s infuriating.
However, not as infuriating as Cameron Diaz’s emotionally scarred executive. Hurt by her parent’s divorce years ago, Amanda put aside her emotions in order to be the great business woman that she. It’s such a tired and frankly fucking disgusting idea that women can’t be both emotionally in-tune and business savvy. Not to go all feminist ranty on you all, the scene in which she tries to cry is a fucking abomination. Maybe this thing could pass in the 1980s but this was fucking 2006. Women are real people too now folks.
The Holiday attempts to fill it’s audience with festive cheer thanks to the snowy Surrey landscape but it’s not enough to distract from the awful narrative and underwritten characters. Taking a step back for a second, this isn’t the worst film that’s ever been made but, if you’re looking for a charming and fun holiday watch, there are plenty of much better ones out there. Check out my Essential Christmas viewing for proof.