The film stars Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black, all of whom are equally charming. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a piece of candy.
But according to a couple of spoilsports determined to ruin everything, The Holiday may not be as perfect as we imagined.
First up? The timeline.
Writer Claire Hodgson from Cosmopolitan U.K. recently broke down the timeline of the film, which takes place over the Christmas season.
Spoiler: It’s a complete sham. Had we not been so stressed about whether or not Amanda (played by Diaz) would leave Surrey and fly back to her home in L.A., or stay with Graham (played by Law), we probably would’ve picked up on this massive glitch. Probably.
If you remember, the bare-bones premise for the film is essentially that two women swap homes after going through rough romantic patches. Amanda leaves her sunny L.A. mansion, while Iris (Winslet) leaves her cosy cottage in Surrey, England. The two women basically trade lives days before Christmas.
But from the very beginning, things are way off. In the opening scenes, the paper Iris works for closes for the holidays, giving staff a nice chunk of time off for Christmas. As Hodgson points out, what paper closes for a week?
According to this timeline, the pivotal moment when
Mr. Napkinhead Graham and Amanda sleep together would’ve technically happened on Christmas Eve. That means our beloved, dreamy-eyed love interest left his children home alone on Christmas Eve to bump uglies with a woman he’d only just met. Hmmm.
Next up? Um, did these women die?
Don’t shoot the messenger, but Entertainment Weekly’s Dana Schwartz also had a huge lightbulb moment after watching the film for the zillionth time recently. The possibility of death lingers in the air early on in the film, which made Schwartz consider the possibility that the two women could’ve died during the beginning of the film. “Three characters were tangent to death two weeks before Christmas,” wrote Schwartz. “Three characters have stories that intertwine and become actualised in ways that fully align with their mortal baggage.”
In one scene we see Amanda gasping for air after having an “oesophageal spasm” while arguing with her cheating boyfriend. We also see a despondent Iris inhaling gas from a lit stove. Eventually, she has a What am I doing?! moment, opens her shutters, inhales fresh air, and breaks free of the spell. Or does she?
Finally, an elderly Arthur Abbott (played by Eli Wallach) is a throwback to Hollywood’s golden age. Thanks to the help of Iris he briefly returns to his former glory and she gets the "gumption" to move forward with her life. Considering his advanced age, this is definitely Arthur's final act.
"Is it such a stretch to imagine that he finally gets to reunite with his lost love after an evening where he a.) is recognised for his career, b.) arrives on the arm of a woman with gumption, just like one of the women he wrote, and c.) is able to walk up the stairs alone, and to thunderous applause?” Schwartz writes.
Now that you mention it...
Is this all some big Nancy Meyers metaphor for the end of one's life? Or can we just go back to pretending that it's a perfectly shallow and sweet rom-com with no dark undertones?