‘The Holiday’: a modern rom-com with a classic movie heart

I clearly remember watching the 2006 rom-com “The Holiday” for the first time, not expecting much more than another in a long line of agreeable but often interchangeable romantic comedies.

It would be a nice, but surely forgettable, two-hour escape using the familiar formula: two people meet-cute, fall for each and face obstacles that lead to a “grand gesture” to help them live happily ever.

I was wrong – “The Holiday” is a memorable rom-com that I get more emotionally involved in each time I watch it.

It’s a combination of the great cast (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law and Eli Wallach – all who have never been more charming on film), relatable characters (we’ve all gone through the same things), a delightful comic touch, a few twists on rom-com tropes and the sense of joy that permeates this deeply emotional film.

The holiday of the title not only refers to the vacations the two female characters take, but also  celebrations of Hanukkah – often forgotten in holiday films – along with Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That’s why I chose this favorite rom-com to be part of the Happy Holidays blogathon hosted by the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society.

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But the reason the film is so memorable for me goes deeper. I am in love with “The Holiday” because it is unabashedly in love with love – be it romantic love, family love or the love of friends – and (sit down for this one) it is deeply in love with classic movies.

It’s not simply that writer and director Nancy Meyers has an old black and white movie playing in the background (plenty of films do that) or throws out classic film references at a quick clip. It’s how she weaved the movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood into the fabric of her script. You can’t separate the two and have the same movie. Continue reading “‘The Holiday’: a modern rom-com with a classic movie heart”