I want to make one thing clear: I love The Holiday. I style my winter wardrobe based on Amanda's (Cameron Diaz). I often dream of living in a cozy cottage like Iris's (Kate Winslet), tiny bathtub and all. I will forever think Jude Law-in-glasses is a snack (and Mr. Napkin Head, for that matter), and I long for a theme song created in my honor by Miles (Jack Black). Also, when I heard the recent rumor that they were making a sequel with the original cast intact, I told everyone, including my mother, about it — only for my mother to break it to me that it wasn't true. Cue the sad music.
To repeat, I'm a big fan of the 2006 rom-com. But the movie hits differently the more you watch it, and I have a few quibbles about it I need to get off my chest.
A Quick Recap
First, let's revisit the plot line of this cult Christmas classic. By now, we all know the story: Amanda Woods (Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Winslet), two total strangers, swap houses for the Christmas holiday. Amanda is a big-time movie trailer editor, and Iris writes about weddings for a British newspaper. While on opposite ends of the pond, they each fall in love — Amanda with Iris's brother Graham (Law), and Iris with Miles (Black), the friend of Amanda's ex (Edward Burns) — with some cute bits in between, including Iris befriending Amanda's octogenarian neighbor, Arthur (Eli Wallach).
The Moments That Hit Differently Now
You can love The Holiday and still find a few things implausible or just plain silly. And upon rewatching this year, some of those moments definitely jumped out at me.
Ethan sleeping on the couch — really?
The scene with Ethan (Burns) sleeping on the couch always makes me chuckle. OK, I get it. We're to know that Ethan and Amanda are having relationship issues, and he's doing the whole "guy sleeping on the couch" bit. But are we to really believe that in such a massive and lavish house as Amanda's, she doesn't have a guest room (or guest house) for him to crash in? And if things are that intense between them — like Ethan having an affair with his receptionist— why is he sleeping there anyway? Seems like Amanda, aka Ms. No Tears, would've kicked his butt to the curb yesterday. It's just a little hard to believe.
How does this creepy chauffeur still have a job?
The scene that always confused me was when the British chauffeur practically kicks Amanda out of the car because, for some reason, his car can't make it to Iris's cottage. He just leaves a foreign tourist to her own wits, abandoning her in the middle of a field due to a little bit of snow and ice? It's the English countryside, for crying out loud — not Winnipeg. Doesn't he have four-wheel drive? What kind of car service is this? And the kicker is... she calls the same car service to drive her back to the airport! But this time, he has no trouble picking her up at her door — even though the amount of snow is pretty much the same. Someone please give this car service a bad Yelp review.
What's with the coats?
Amanda has too many coats. It doesn't make sense that she has three coats — they are all very chic, by the way — for such a short holiday (and this comes from an over-packer). What was she anticipating? I thought she was escaping to a cottage to read books? More importantly, did she bring a steamer? Also, it's curious how a California native like Amanda can have so many winter coats in her closet. She left for the U.K. within 24 hours, so did she call up Neiman Marcus to hand-deliver these three coats, or were they always in her closet? I have thought about this multiple times. Mostly because I really do love her coats.
How could Iris abandon her dog?
So, what's going on with this dog? What's his name? Where did he come from? All of a sudden, Iris has a dog — and she leaves him? Look, I think Iris is a lovely lady, but it's a little irresponsible of her to leave her dog with a complete stranger. What if Amanda wants to return home sooner than expected and is ready to abandon him at the drop of a hat? What if she's hardly around because she's off canoodling with a handsome stranger? Oh, she already did both of those things. Given Amanda's flightiness, I always find myself worrying about this dog. Is he OK? Is he going out for walks? Did Amanda forget to give him fresh water?! Dog lovers need to know.
Foreplay is overrated?!
Who can forget this line spoken by Amanda? Where do I even start? First, the line further reiterates the act of sex through a male gaze since foreplay is typically what makes sex more enjoyable and pleasurable for vulva havers, and most vulva havers enjoy clitoral stimulation more than penetrative intercourse. That's all to say that I doubt Amanda has ever had good sex, and the fact that Graham is OK with skipping over it implies the same. Poor Amanda!
Why do Graham's daughters each have a cell phone?
Bear in mind this is 2006. We did not have iPhones, people. We barely had Blackberries. We had flip phones and maybe a SideKick if you were cool enough. So kids having cell phones or mobiles wasn't a common thing. At all. Better yet, why on earth do two little girls, both under the age of 9, have a cell phone — each?! They weren't even sharing a phone, which maybe, hypothetically, could be somewhat plausible if it was for an emergency given that Graham is a single father. But no. They have one each — and it appears they use it whenever they goddamn please. Probably to ask their dad to pick up a pony on the way home to give their cow in the backyard a friend. Which might explain why he gets off the call, saying, "I can't today." SORRY, KIDS!
Why is Dustin Hoffman at a Blockbuster on Christmas Eve?
I mean, I'm not judging. Maybe a little. But it is curious. Also, why is anyone at a Blockbuster in 2006? After all, this wasn't the Blockbuster of the '90s. A number of us were receiving Netflix DVDs in the mail at this point.
What happened to Christmas Day?
Is it me, or did I miss the big day? Is Christmas Day the day when nasty Jasper (Rufus Sewell) comes to town to visit Iris? Is it when Amanda and Graham sleep together again (so he just skipped out on his kids to get laid)? Neither seems likely. So, for a movie about the Christmas holidays, it begs the question — what happened to Christmas?
Will long-distance work?
Do these four lovebirds beat the odds and make a LDR work, or do Miles and Amanda quit their jobs and move to England? Or do Graham and Iris move stateside? What about the cow? The dog? All the visa paperwork? It all seems a little complicated, and as much as I believe anything can happen if you want it to... somehow, I doubt these love stories end with a nice a little Christmas bow despite what the ending has us believe.
This is why we need a sequel!
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