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Holiday, The

Sony Pictures // PG-13 // March 13, 2007
List Price: $38.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Matthew Hinkley | posted March 14, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Man was my wife excited to hear that I got to review "The Holiday." With so many other good movies coming out, it was exactly what I felt like reviewing. Well--not so much. I am generally not a huge fan of chick flicks, but wow! I actually really enjoyed "The Holiday."

"The Holiday" focuses on the lives of two women, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet). Both have their own guy troubles, but they deal with it in completely different ways and they happen to live on complete opposite sides of the world. With a little help from, Amanda and Iris impulsively decide they have had enough problems worrying about men so they swap homes for a two-week vacation during the Christmas holidays; the basically exchanges lives (home, car, pets, neighbors, etc). Amanda, a movie trailer editor, has everything--a job she loves, a beautiful house with all sorts of gadgets, a nice car, a pool--but her boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns) just cheated on her. She decides that for the holiday she is going to fly to Iris' English home in Surrey, and get away from men all together. Something that should be easy to accomplish because Iris tells her that there are no men in the Surrey countryside! Iris is equally desperate to get away because she just found out her on-again-off-again boyfriend Jasper (Rufus Sewell) is engaged to be married to a co-worker. She has loved him for 3 years, but he never truly loved her back. She is completely devastated at his surprise engagement and wants time and space to fall out of love with him. She books a flight to L.A to stay in Amanda's beautiful home and live 2 weeks in luxury--much different than her countryside cottage.

When they reach each others homes, it takes a bit for them to adjust. They explore and meet new people who help them recover from their recent romantic difficulties. Iris meets neighbor Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach), a legendary Hollywood screenwriter. He recommends movies full of women heroines with "gumption" to inspire her to stand up for herself. She also meets Amanda's friend Miles (Jack Black), a film composer who has fallen for the "bad girl" who doesn't respect him. Iris and Miles both have good hearts and quirky personalities, but they both need to stand up to their respective significant-others who are holding them back. Amanda, initially so excited to have peace and quiet in the countryside, gets bored trying to read books and listen to music in Iris' cozy cottage. She nearly heads home early, but Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law) happens to stop by and they instantly hit it off. They go on dates and learn everything about each other, but she isn't positive if getting into a serious relationship is the right thing to do on such a short vacation. Amanda and Graham both have baggage they need to work through before they can truly be themselves around each other.

"The Holiday"--a tale of two complete strangers, who swap lives, and begin their inner transformations that allow them to fall in love.

With a mixed bag of big name actors and a plot that might seem hard to follow, "The Holiday" is actually pieced together wonderfully. Writer and director Nancy Meyers does an incredible job of placing our characters in the right place at the right time. Meyers allows the characters to mold themselves into who they really are--Cameron Diaz plays a distraught girl that can't find love if it hit her straight in the face, let alone shed a tear for someone. Kate Winslet fits the shoes of winsome writer Iris, who is desperate to get away from unrequited love. As far as the men go, Jude Law plays a great role as a man who has trouble balancing his life and love, and unexpectedly falls in love with Amanda. Finally, Jack Black is great in his minor role providing some charming comic relief, who works past his own love troubles to fall in love with Iris.

Each character has their own story and they all interact brilliantly. Every actor fits the shoes of one another as they stumble across love in different ways. With a well-written story that is based off of a simple home exchange, "The Holiday" is a great date movie full of fluff.



Another great release from Sony giving us a full 1080p transfer. The detail is absolutely stunning with amazing clarity, especially in Surrey. When we see Iris' house for the first time, we see every stone and every plant in the yard. That mixed with some beautiful snow covered scenery you get an incredible picture.

As far as the skin tones go, I didn't really like the overall quality of them. There are some skin tones that seem to have too much contrast or even tend to be too warm. Other than that, the blacks are spot on and the colors in L.A are beautiful, vibrant, and look fantastic.

This is a very nice release from Sony and it is a bit surprising how much attention was given to a romantic comedy. It is good to see studios care about movies that aren't always big budget action flicks.


Sony is beginning to give us all the goods when it comes to audio. Another uncompressed audio 5.1 audio track. Even though the sound was a little an the quiet side, it still sounded very nice, with just enough surrounds with lot of attention to detail. There are several scenes where the dialogue comes perfectly from the front as we hear lots of nice background noises that compliment the movie very well.

Another nice plus was the soundtrack itself. The soundtrack does a great job with keeping the momentum moving as we see all of our characters fall out of love, and back into love. Overall a pretty good audio track.


Unfortunately we weren't given very many extras with "The Holiday." There are only two extras and they both are just okay.

Commentary with Writer/Director Nancy Meyers & guests: (Composer Hans Zimmer, Production Designer John Hutman, and Editor Joe Hutshing). Nancy Meyers takes the helm with the help of just a couple of the crew members to add their thoughts once and a while. They talk about scoring the movie, dressing according to the characters and the styles based on their country, to establishing the characters and the challenges that they had doing that. They also touch on cutting the scenes, casting choices, making the scenes feel more intimate and fitting each character with the scenes.

The Commentary is your run-of-the-mill style of commentary, but does have some interesting tidbits mixed in. One thing I found particularly interesting was that you can't actually show a real Oscar in a film. I never knew they have to use a fake Oscar and switch out the real one.

Overall, nothing special, but if you really enjoyed "The Holiday" you might pick up some interesting facts during the commentary.

Foreign Exchange: The Making of "The Holiday:" This was a fairly interesting piece with insights from almost all of the characters in the movie and even some crewmembers. Basically, it is just interviews with each cast member about their characters, characters that they enjoyed and how they reacted to them, the story, and how well Nancy Meyers directed the movie.

Not much depth to this one, just some fun insights from each actor and how they worked with others, and creating the on-screen romance to make "The Holiday" a great movie.

Final Thoughts:

"The Holiday" is a perfect movie to watch on a nice date. The story is so simple, but draws us in to each character as we feel their need for love and affection. With a great video transfer, and a good audio track, "The Holiday" has enough push to keep you watching and be entertained. If you are up a good romantic comedy, with some great witty humor and some great on-screen chemistry then "The Holiday" is perfect. I definitely Recommend this to anyone in search of a movie to cuddle up next to the person you love and enjoy a great evening.

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