Two women - one from England the other from Southern California - trade homes and lifestyles for a memorable winter vacation in a new romantic comedy co-starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. Alan Silverman has a look at The Holiday.
Iris works in London and has just had her heart broken by a business colleague. Amanda works in Hollywood and her relationship falls apart when she learns her boyfriend has been cheating.
With Christmas and New Year's fast approaching, neither woman wants to spend the festive season facing reminders of the loves gone wrong. These total strangers find one another via the Internet and arrange to swap houses for The Holiday. Little does either realize that by traveling halfway round the world she will find a perfect romantic match. For American Amanda he's played by Jude Law.
Meanwhile in sunny California, Englishwoman Iris meets the character played by Jack Black.
Cameron Diaz says almost anyone who has ever been in love can identify with what happens in The Holiday. "This film is highly relatable ...to everyone. I can relate with Iris and to Amanda. I think we have all been through these relationships before. That's life. The journey of love in this lifetime is to try to figure out how to make love work and nurture relationships (and) there is definitely something I think everybody can see a bit of themselves in it. Maybe not the exact same experience, but certainly the human aspect of it," she says.
"This is a whole new genre. I had never made a film like this before," says Kate Winslet, who says she found relationship comedy to be more challenging than she expected. "I was so excited to do something new ...and also nervous. (There's) the worry of 'can I be funny?' but also I hadn't played a contemporary Englishwoman in a film before. I have done a lot of period English films, but never a contemporary person. I have done that in American (accents), but this was new to me and actually I did not like the feeling, initially. I thought 'what do you mean, I can't hide behind something? ...I don't have a wig or an accent or a strange costume?' It was me in my hair and my voice and clothes that I would choose to wear. There was something oddly intimidating about that and it took a little getting used to."
The Holiday is written and directed by Nancy Meyers, who has tapped into the genre before with audience favorites including What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give.
"I don't think about other genres. I'm not interested in them, really. I like writing about women. I like writing about how men relate. I like diving into stuff that has happened to me through my work and, so far, it has translated to other people because I get a lot of comments like 'that was me! How did you know?' That kind of stuff," she says.
With the script by a woman, directed by a woman and telling the stories of two women finding love, is The Holiday a 'chick flick' - a film that will appeal mainly to women? Winslet doesn't think so. I don't feel like this is a 'chick flick' and that is not me trying to sell the movie in a whole other way. It really is about relationships and it's about two separate relationships that happen with women and men," she says.
"Jude and Jack are not the 'dudes' in this movie. They are going through their own issues in this movie," says co-star Diaz, who thinks the romantic challenges faced by the men in The Holiday are just as compelling. "They have to recognize things for themselves and get to understand themselves in a certain way to know what they want and go after it. There's a moment where you have to be with them as well when they make the decision that this is what they want ...or what they don't want. I think that guys will definitely relate to it."
The Holiday also features veteran Hollywood actor Eli Wallach as a veteran screenwriter who knows how to make romance work in a film. The cads who broke these women's hearts are played by Rufus Sewell and Edward Burns. In a trademark of writer-director Nancy Meyers's style, the settings on both sides of the Atlantic feature spectacularly beautiful homes.