The last time I smiled this much during a romantic comedy was the first time I saw To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and I think I still maybe smiled and blushed more during my first viewing of the 2006 winter rom-com classic The Holiday.
I’ve always heard other people speaking highly of The Holiday, but I think I always overlooked it because most Christmas rom-coms tend to be the same, even though I love them. Sometimes I just don’t get around to all of them, and to that I would like to apologize because this movie is simply a delight that I spent the past 14 years missing. Who knew Jack Black could make me come around and see him for the king of romance that he is? In a movie that is over 2 hours, no less. But I never wanted it to end.
What really shines in this story is the bonding between Iris (Kate Winslet) and Miles (Jack Black) who learn how to value themselves and their time enough to throw people out of their lives who are not serving them. Both characters struggle with letting go of relationships where the other person is leading them on, leaving Iris and Miles hanging on to any small bit of hope from their respective lovers who refuse to commit to them. Whilst Iris is living in LA, she learns to articulate the toxic patterns she has been following and encourages Miles to do the same. Though they flirt with one another along the way and end the film on a first date in England, the strength in their narrative arc comes from their personal growth that happens to culminate in a budding romance.
I think we also need to acknowledge some of the most romantic moments in cinema history, all attributed to Jack Black, the romance underdog of the century. If you know any movie lover, you know that bonding over film, let alone in a Blockbuster, is the setup for a racing heart and some butterflies in the tummy. I don’t remember how Kate and Jack get to the Blockbuster, but I’m glad they do, because what could be more fun than wandering around and looking at DVDs! Miles follows this up by playing the piano for Iris (he is a film composer) and writing a melody for her on the spot. He says something along the lines of “this is you if you were a melody, I used all the good notes.” That’s romance right there, folks.
Now, while I find the romance of Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Graham (Jude Law) to be much less interesting, the way Cameron kicks off the movie is absolutely unhinged and Oscar-worthy. Never have I been so overjoyed to see a woman throw a useless man out of her gigantic house. Now, I don’t believe in capitalism, but I do think Amanda deserves to live in luxury after how her ex treated her, so I will let it slide this one time.
The cherry on top of this glorious three-act structure are Graham’s young girls, who are probably around 6 years old, with their adorable British accents and their bedroom fort. How could anyone resist two small children inviting their dad’s new girlfriend into their blanket fort to be their friend, all while they compliment her the entire night and try to convince her to stay over. They know what’s going on, and they only want the best for their incredibly hot dad, right? I’m a huge sucker for kids in rom coms, and these absolute angels delivered the wholesome content I wanted.
If you have not gotten your butt in a chair to revel in The Holiday, I need you to do that as soon as possible, and then tell me all about it. There’s a contact form on my website www.taylorhunsberger.com, and it is now open to all of your thoughts on this masterpiece of humor, romance, friendship, and how the pure love of cinema can bring Rose from Titanic and Nacho Libre together as one.