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Sunday, February 11, 2007


The Holiday poster

And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas', the worst Birthday's, New Years Eve's brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I've been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him! Heart pounding! Throat thickening! Absolutely can't swallow! All the usual symptoms.

I sighed during the opening voiceover of The Holiday (delivered by Iris, played by Kate Winslet). It just hit a little too close to home. Such uneasiness was intensified when I became increasingly conscious of the fact that most people sitting around me in the cinema came in pairs. Such is the pain of being a closet sucker for romantic comedies (the only justification I can come up with is that, well, I'm a Piscean), while watching these fluffy feel-good films in the cinema, I am sometimes unintentionally reminded of my own misery, which, of course, adds more to the saddening poetry of my situation.

The Holiday, actually a Christmas film, is released in Malaysia later than the rest of the world, which is befuddling, but then, since Malaysia holds the dubious honour of being the only country in the world to screen Curse of the Golden Flower in (badly-dubbed) Cantonese, I shouldn't be surprised. Besides, it's more likely that this is aimed for Valentine's Day (I'm sure this is a much pleasant Valentine's Day watch than, say, Epic Movie, or the upcoming Ghost Rider).

The movie's basically two movies in one. Iris (Winslet), a writer for The Telegraph, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), an owner of a high-earning movie trailers editing firm, swap homes in each other's country (Iris is British, Amanda is American) after they both had guy problems. The object of Iris' unrequited love (Rufus Sewell, continuing his long, unbroken streak of playing assholes since Dark City) mentioned on the voiceover above had gotten engaged; Amanda's boyfriend (Edward Burns) had cheated on her. They each meet a local guy (For Iris: Miles, a movie composer played by Jack Black; For Amanda: Iris' brother, Graham, played by Jude Law) and fall in love.

Yeah, the story's pretty simple, trite even, if it weren't executed so well and had such nice, likable acting from the leads. I mentioned to my friend, Sebastian yesterday that I've never seen Jude Law playing such a likable character before (though for some strange reason, I was disappointed that he and Rufus Sewell never appeared in the same scene throughout the whole movie... don't ask). Won't dwell into the story too much, since there are some nice twists (with Jude Law's character) that are more enjoyable when you don't know anything about them. I said nice twists, so no, Graham isn't suffering from terminal illness, nor will he die stupidly in a car accident like a Korean melodrama, just a little something that elicited lots of 'awwwwwwwwwww's from the female moviegoers last night.

While I think both stories share equal screen time, Iris's side of the story is not focused solely on the romance like Amanda's, as she also strikes up a friendship with an old man living next door, Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach), a legendary screenwriter who had written numerous classics during Hollywood's Golden Era (he's also the one who added the 'kid' on Casablanca's 'here's looking at you, kid', haha).

So yeah, I enjoyed the film, there's not much else I can talk about it.

During an online conversation with Sebastian yesterday, he had told me that many reviews of this film had critics voicing out their preferences of a story over another, some liked Iris's more, some liked Amanda's more, I guess it's really a matter of which one can you empathized more with, in my case, it's the former, in Sebastian's case, it's the latter.

Which story did you guys prefer more?

Director Nancy Meyer's previous films were 1998's The Parent Trap (watching Lindsay Lohan then made me want to weep at what she had become now), 2000's What Women Want (back then, the Jews could still accept Mel Gibson as a romantic lead) and most recently,2003's Something's Gotta Give, which starred Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves (Keanu going after Diane kinda made me squirm, but Keanu was awesome though). With the exception of What Women Want (good concept, but forgettable), I enjoyed most of her films a lot. They are all entertaining, feel-good rom-coms with really good acting (Diane Keaton got an Oscar nomination for Something's Gotta Give) and handsome production values.

By the way, I do agree with Sebastian's review that Hans Zimmer's score in the film is really good (the guy didn't sleepwalk through this one). It really did elevate numerous scenes to another level. You can check some of the music in this post here.

Fan video of 'The Holiday'

Kate Winslet interview

Another Kate Winslet interview

(note: Swifty is a Kate Winslet fan)