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The Holiday is a 2006 American romantic comedy film written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers. Co-produced by Bruce A. Block, it was filmed in both California and England, and starred Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet.

Distributed by Columbia Pictures domestically and by Universal Pictures overseas, The Holiday was first released on December 6, 2006, in Spain and on December 8, 2006, in North America and the United Kingdom. It grossed over $205 million worldwide against a budget of $85 million. Critics praised the film's visual aesthetic design and the cast's performances, though criticized its plot as predictable.

Plot

Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet), a wedding columnist for The Daily Telegraph in London, is still in love with her co-worker Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell) for over three years, even though he cheated on her and they have broken up. When she learns that he is engaged to marry another woman, Iris is distraught, and desirous of a life change. Meanwhile, Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz), a workaholic business executive living in Los Angeles, discovers that her boyfriend Ethan Ebbers (Edward Burns) has been cheating on her with his receptionist. After breaking up with him, she decides to get away for the Christmas holidays and visits a home-exchange website on which Iris has listed her cottage in Surrey, England. Amanda contacts Iris, and the two women agree to swap homes for two weeks.

While Iris revels in the luxury of Amanda's large Los Angeles home, Amanda is disappointed by the slow, quiet pace of life in Iris's quaint cottage. She grows bored after only a few hours and books a flight home for the following day. Later that night, Iris's brother, Graham (Jude Law), knocks at the door thinking Iris is home. Graham asks Amanda to let him spend the night despite never previously meeting, as he has been drinking at the pub and does not want to drive home. Amanda agrees. After a brief, drunken conversation, they kiss and later end up sleeping together.

In the morning, Graham receives phone calls from Sophie and Olivia, which arouse Amanda's suspicions that Graham has multiple girlfriends. Graham, knowing that Amanda is planning to return home imminently, invites her to dinner later that night if she decides to change her mind, which she later does. They spend time together over the days that follow, but Amanda becomes worried that their relationship will be complicated as she is only living in England for two weeks.

Meanwhile in America, Iris meets Miles Dumont (Jack Black), Ethan's assistant, and later, an elderly neighbour named Arthur Abbott (Eli Wallach). She learns that he was a screenwriter during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The two become friends. Arthur notes that Iris's relationship with Jasper is not serving her well, and he suggests movies for her to watch that include strong female characters, in hopes that she can acquire what he calls "gumption." Back in England, Amanda chooses not to see Graham again but, alone again in the cottage, she has a change of heart and surprises Graham at his house, where she meets his two young daughters, Sophie and Olivia. He reveals he is a widower.

Iris then discovers that the Screenwriters' Guild wants to throw a grand celebration in Arthur's honor, but he is reluctant to attend because he does not expect to know many of the attendees, he cannot walk without the assistance of his walker, and he does not want to embarrass himself on stage. Iris encourages him to go and promises to help him prepare by undertaking an exercise program together, determined to help him walk without his walker. During this time, Jasper contacts her from England, asking her to assist with the book he is writing. She agrees to look over his pages, but does not have the chance to do so after spending so much time with Miles and Arthur.

Iris and Miles slowly become close friends and spend more and more time together. On Christmas Eve, while out to rent movies, Miles is shocked to see his girlfriend with another man. It turns out that she has been cheating on Miles for a while. Both Iris and Miles decide to have Alfredo fettuccine in order to get over their broken relationships. Iris returns to Amanda's house and is surprised to find Jasper at her doorstep. Iris is touched at first and the two spend a cozy night in together, only for Iris to discover he is still engaged. She breaks up with him for good, claiming he has never treated her right and that she has finally got clarity. Meanwhile, Miles breaks up with his cheating girlfriend also, and rushes to attend Arthur's award ceremony with Iris. The event is filled with attendees standing and applauding Arthur's lifetime of achievements. That, and the music that Miles wrote especially for Arthur for this moment, give him the confidence to walk onto the stage unassisted. Miles asks Iris for a date on New Year's Eve, but she reminds him she will be back in England by then. He agrees to travel to the United Kingdom for her.

Meanwhile, Graham confesses his love for Amanda on the night before she is scheduled to depart, but Amanda is still doubtful that a long-distance relationship will work. On her way to the airport, she realises she feels the same way and returns to the cottage and reunites with Graham. Amanda tells him that she has decided to stay to spend New Year's Eve with him, and they embrace. Iris and Miles celebrate the new year with Amanda and Graham and his two daughters, enjoying the evening, and laughing and dancing together.

Cast

  • Cameron Diaz as Amanda Woods:

Amanda is the owner of a prospering business that produces movie trailers. A fan of Meyers' work, Diaz signed on after reading parts of the script. Commenting on her decision to play Amanda, Diaz said that her character "was totally relatable to because we've all had these relationships that fail. But I loved the bravery that she displays. She [...] learns about who she is and opens herself up to possibilities she's never allowed herself to have before. I felt that was such a wonderful message to put out there." Meyers, who envisioned casting her still during the writing process, compared Diaz' performance in the film to Goldie Hawn, complimenting her adeptness at physical comedy: "It's really hard I think to be that cute and sexy and that funny and that sort of girl-friendly [..] She seemed absolutely the right choice for a California girl," she commented. In developing her character, Diaz also improvised on set: "There were a few scenes that were written on the page but then Nancy and I fooled around with them a bit. We didn’t want to take it [the comedy] too broad. We wanted it to be believable, so we included realistic moments," she said.

  • Kate Winslet as Iris Simpkins:

Iris is a society columnist, writing for The Daily Telegraph. Winslet was hand-picked by Meyers, who wrote all of Iris' lines with her in mind. The character was named Iris after Jude Law’s young daughter. A fan of Meyers' previous work on Something's Gotta Give (2003), Winslet, then primarily known for her portrayals in period films, "loved the idea" of playing a contemporary English woman in a romantic comedy, a genre she had not done before. Winslet said she had initially felt "nervous and [...] scared about trying to be funny" at times, stating that "Jude [Law] and I would speak on the telephone a lot before we started shooting, 'Oh my god, they're going to fire us, they're going to recast, what if we don't make them laugh?" In preparing for her role, Winslet watched screwball comedies from the 1940s, such as His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story, to study the dialogues and performances.

  • Jude Law as Graham Simpkins:

Graham is Iris' brother, a book editor, "countryside widower" and single father forced to raise his two daughters (Miffy Englefield as Sophie, and Emma Pritchard as Olivia) by himself after his wife's death. Law accepted the role as he was interested in playing a type of character that he had never played on film before. After his appearances in a string of period dramas and science fiction films in the early to mid-2000s, Law found it tricky to approach the contemporary role of Graham. Like Winslet, the actor stated, he felt more vulnerable about playing a character who fitted his own look and did not require an accent, a costume or a relocation. Meyers, who was not immediately sure if Law was going to fit into the genre and whose character evolved more during the writing than the others, decided to cast him after meeting in which they we went through the script together. In preparing for his role, Meyers sent him a collection of Clark Gable movies to prepare the performance that she wanted in The Holiday.

  • Jack Black as Miles Dumont:

Miles is a Hollywood music composer working with Amanda and an affiliate of her boyfriend Ethan. As with Diaz and Winslet, Meyers specially created the character for Black after watching his performance in the musical comedy film School of Rock (2003). On his cast, Meyers commented that "when I was thinking of this movie I thought he was someone I would like to write a part for and I'm aware he's not Clark Gable, he's not tall dark and handsome, but he's adorable, he's lovable. It's my way of saying this is the right kind of guy, this is what most guys look like if they're lucky, he's so adorable, and why not?" Cast against type, Black felt "flattered [and] a little bit nervous" about Meyers' approach to star in a rom-com, though he eventually agreed to sign on upon learning that he would play opposite Winslet. While he felt it was difficult to find the adorable side in his role, Black appreciated Miles' relationship with music, stating, "I could relate to that Miles was a film composer and I just got done composing my music for my score. So I knew about that world."

  • Eli Wallach as Arthur Abbott:

Arthur is Amanda's neighbor, a famous screenwriter from the Golden Age of Hollywood whom Iris befriends. Wallach was 90 years old when The Holiday was filmed. Meyers found him so animated and energetic on the set, that she had to remind him several times during filming to slow down, move more slowly, and act more like an older man. Shannyn Sossamon appears as Maggie, Miles' girlfriend and aspiring actress, while Edward Burns plays as Ethan Ebbers, Amanda's boyfriend; Rufus Sewell portrays Jasper Bloom, Iris' on-and-off affair. The film also reunited Sewell and Sossamon as they both starred in A Knight's Tale together, although they do not share a scene. Extended Simpkins family include Miffy Englefield and Emma Pritchard as Sophie and Olivia, Graham's daughters, respectively. The film also cast Bill Macy as Ernie and Shelley Berman as Norman, friends of Arthur, as well as Kathryn Hahn as Bristol and John Krasinski as Ben, Amanda's employees. Jon Prescott appears as Maggie's short-time affair.

Dustin Hoffman appears in the video rental store in an uncredited cameo as Jack Black talks about the score from The Graduate. According to Hoffman, this was unscripted and unexpected. He was going to Blockbuster for a movie, saw all the light and came over to see what was going on. He knew director Nancy Meyers, who scripted a short scene with him in it. Lindsay Lohan, who had made her motion picture debut in Meyers' remake of The Parent Trap (1998), and James Franco, a friend of Meyers, make uncredited appearances in the trailer of the fictional movie Deception, which Amanda and her team finish at the beginning of The Holiday.

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