So far Required Viewing has taken us to the sun-drenched shores of California, to the dark recesses of human drama, to the hidden world of dancers and on a blistering roadtrip with exuberant youths. But this week we enter uncharted territory. A rom-com … and no, Annemarie didn’t pick it. We watched The Holiday, a movie I love so much I would have watched it again the second it ended.
Which brings us to the traditional start of our article. Annemarie, why did I pick The Holiday? Did I oversell it? Do you love it? Would you rather kick it for two weeks in Iris’ cottage or Amanda’s mansion? Are you a major weeper?
AM: You picked The Holiday for many reasons. One, who doesn’t love living in Nancy Meyers’ world for awhile? Second, it makes living outside of London look like the singularly most delightful thing on Earth. Also, it has so many classic Hollywood shout-outs that your film nerd probably exploded the first time you saw it. It’s genuinely a tribute to the golden age of cinema and you love that. And finally, the two couples in this movie portray so many #RelationshipGoals you can’t help but be charmed.
How’d I do?
I was sold pretty hard on the joys of this movie, and I did love it. Like a lot of rom-coms, there’s a bit of predictability and implausibility here that I got tripped up on, but by and large it was truly a pleasure to watch. It’s not even really a Christmas movie, more of a “find yourself” movie that’s directed at women and the men who they love and shouldn’t. I dubbed the two Awful Boyfriends as such immediately, and I stand by my assertion that if a guy says anything of the likes that they did, girls have my official permission to tell them to fuck off. Don’t mince words, ladies.
I would 100% pick the Surrey cottage. The cute, bespokeness of that place was off the charts. I can’t even stand it. But I will also say that Amanda’s sweater game was probably more off the hook. Can I say that about sweaters? Because they are. My personal favorite is the most implausible, but it’s her post-drinking binge pink sweater coat with grey leggings. I never look that good in PJs and no one has ever looked so awesome after a night of drinking in which she “drank more than anyone has ever drank.” I call bullshit, but whatever. Hollywood sugarcoats hangovers, and that’s fine. I’m in. Brooke, I’m a minor weeper. Same questions back to you! Would you rather go to LA or to Surrey? Which horrible boyfriend is the worst? And which new boyfriend is your favorite?
BW: Wow, AM, that was the most complete summation of my motivations possible. I’m impressed and a little alarmed, am I that transparent? I’m going to say I’m still mysterious, but we’d be fully mind-melded at this point.
I would absolutely rather go to Surrey, all I want in the world is to live in a cottage like that, inconvenient shower situation and all. I recently stayed in a similar cottage in The Cotswolds (turns out they actually look like Surrey in this movie and not that horror show Amanda clicked on) and it was the most magical experience.
I’m going to have to say that Jasper is the worst of the worst boyfriends. Ethan deserved everything Amanda threw at him for what he did, it sucked. But people do grow apart. What Jasper did, however is pure sociopath behavior. He’s stringing Iris along while making plans to marry another girl, and yet, he expects her to drop everything to satisfy his whims. Fuck. Off. Jasper. There, I said it for her.
Perhaps because I have been in the position of unrequited love before, I feel for Iris extraordinarily deeply, and I’ve rarely been more proud of a character than I am every time I see her tell Jasper she’s got a life to be living and he’s not going to be in it.
On paper, Graham is my perfect man. He’s British, gorgeous, a book editor and the brother of Kate the Great. In reality, he’s all that and in some, add in unsuspected vulnerability and a penchant for weeping and he’s just so lovely. AND YET, from the first time I saw this movie in theaters on my 18th birthday to this most recent viewing, I’ve never had eyes for anyone but Miles. He’s possibly the greatest love interest ever on screen. He buys drinks with big dollops and sings scores in stores and writes melodies that sound like people. I just swooned. I choose Miles 10 times out of 10.
And yes, it’s totally fair to say Amanda’s sweater game is not just on point, her sweaters are off the charts good.
AM, which guy would you choose? How much do you love Arthur? Do you think we have gumption? We’re also re-joined for this edition of Required Viewing by our special guest, Brit, who loves this movie as much as I do. Brit, we need your take on all of this.
AM: I feel like I did actually marry Miles. Justin frequently does things in public to make me laugh that I’ll sometimes be embarrassed that we’re making so much noise, and while he’s never written jingles that sound like me, he did surprise me with a trip to Disneyland. So he wins in my book. I would agree that Graham is on paper the most perfect specimen of a man ever, but he seems ideally suited for an ideally perfect looking Cameron Diaz, not us mere mortals. Jude Law is ridiculously good looking, and then an accent on top of it. Shut up.
We discussed at length whether Brits and other cultured folk around the world swoon over American accents as much as we swoon over there’s. I say no. We’re heathen Yanks and I read somewhere that the modern American accent is equivalent to a low-class British accent in the 18th century. We literally sound like house elves to them. Anyway, that aside, I will say that a British (or Irish, or Italian, or Australian) accent in a man is one of the sexist things and I don’t even care that they don’t reciprocate.
Arthur was literally so sweet and so amazing that I was afraid that he wasn’t going to live through the movie. I have had my heart broken too many times by adorable old guys in movies to believe that he’d make it. He does, and he gets to do his speech in front of a packed house, full of admiration for a career well written and a life well lived. Loved him oh so much. His pals were equally adorbs and I would love to have some manischewitz red wine with those guys and talk old Hollywood stories.
I think we have gumption. We’re sassy ladies who try to speak our minds and while we’ve all been in a situation like Iris’ to some degree, we lived and learned and moved on from it. #Gumption
Brit, your thoughts?! I know this movie is as special to you as it is to Brooke, so I’d love to hear what your favorite parts are.
BG: Thank you ladies. I am back again to chime in on one of my favorite movies of all time and of course, defend Jude Law’s honor (I choose him).
I think you ladies covered the Awfuls pretty well, so I wont go into detail about them. I will say that I have always connected with Iris in this situation. Yes, I too have been the victim of unrequited love and bastards who just wont leave you alone. However, its also the way she handles her misfortunes that I relate to.
Amanda, in all of her badassness, kicks her guy out, punches him in the face and flies to London on a whim to stay in an idyllic cottage and drink wine in the grocery stores. As much as I think I could handle a break up that way now, when I first fell in love with this movie, I was much more prone to Iris’ conflict. I think that is why it is so great to see her story play out. She starts off sobbing, and in a fantastic Iris moment, considers breathing in gas from her stove top to end her misery. But then she picks herself up and gets the fuck out of Surrey. She stays in a beautiful mansion, she makes friends in the community, she gets inspired by Arthur, she finally tells Jasper to fuck off and then she gets Miles. It’s so very satisfying.
Now, as much as I have always related more to Iris in my romantic woes, I always wanted to be Amanda. Her career was my dream job, her tough exterior was inspiring and the SWEATERS. OMG. Plus, Graham. Graham is perfect on paper. And he is also perfect in person. I know I should pick Miles. He is so very charming and wonderful. But I don’t care, I am going to be shallow and pick hot ass Jude Law. I mean Graham.
In addition to his on-paper perfection, his accent and his looks, he is also the cutest dad ever. Mr. Napkin-head?! You guys. And his kids, especially the smaller one; “We never have grown ups here who are girls…I reallly liiiike it” in her adorable 5-year-old British accent. I just can’t. She gives Arthur a run for his money for cutest character. Seeing Graham in this unexpected situation, and then seeing him fill the role so fantastically, makes me love him even more. Plus, I wasn’t going to say it, but Miles kind of developed a thing for Iris when he was still dating Maggie. So there, a character flaw for you.
Onto Arthur, the best friend Iris could have possibly made there. He is the most amazing person, really. On top of being adorable and having an amazing story, he helps Iris see that she should be the leading lady in her own story, and that she does in fact possess gumption.
Man, I just love this movie, you guys. I used to torture myself wondering if they all stayed together and made their newfound long distance relationships work. But I solved that dilemma long ago by realizing that they are forever dancing in the living room on New Years Eve.
BW: I feel like we’ve really given AM a gift this time out. Also, can we go watch this movie again? It’s just so magical. It’s really fortunate that AM enjoyed it as much as she did, because if she hadn’t, we probably couldn’t be friends with her anymore. No leading lady according to Arthur’s rules would stand for that kind of nonsense.
We’re staying on this holiday movie kick for awhile. Join us next week for our dissection of a Christmas movie that Brooke’s never seen: White Christmas.