It’s been a long time since I watched a Rom-Com… but it’s the Holiday! (Pun intended).

The Christmas season has been and gone. Christmas is the time of year where all the seasonal festive movies are trending on TV and on Netflix. Now whilst, It is the New Year (we just took down our Christmas decorations). There was one Christmas film I watched that gave me some food for thought in line with some of my new year’s resolutions. The Holiday is an all-star cast with the likes of Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black lighting up the big screen. 

The main Synopsis of the film is that Amanda woods (played by Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) switch houses for the Christmas holidays in the Hopes of escaping from their current reality. Both women are fed up with men and they land in their respective countries (England and La)intent on taking the first steps to an adventure they were brave enough to leap into. Iris represents the woman who I am currently gaining the confidence to be. Loving life around her, meeting new and unlikely friends (Arthur).

The Holiday made me want to watch old black and white films, jet set to New York, be single and happy, live life on my own.

This film also made me laugh at how unrealistic the portrayal of love is. Never in real life would someone say I love you in two weeks (at least not in my life) and I think in most circumstances it would call for an immediate red flag. But the fact that I laughed and not swooned  at Jude Law’s afterglow ridden proclamation of love (insert screen caption below) showed me two important things.

Oh how I would have been so desperate to hear those words from someone anyone in the past.

However the two important things I learnt was that:

  1. I am okay
  2. I am my own princess charming.

In both Amanda and Iris’ cases, they became the second fiddle in their relationships. They were hurt and they were taken for granted. Despite this, they had the strength to pick themselves up out of the situation and try to rescue themselves. I often leaned on Hollywood’s fantasy of being saved by a prince charming in my heart broken hour of need, or hours – seeing as I have had many over the years. However, that never really happened to me. Watching this film, I am finally at peace with that. I was finally able to watch a romantic film with out tearing up. In fact, I enjoyed it! As something to laugh at maybe but enjoyed nonetheless.

I for so long, have been acting like the best friend, the side chick, the one no one wants. The victim. Deserving better than half-baked relationships and people who only appreciate you the moment you are gone.

The characters of Jasper and Maggie really infuriated me. It is only when being to truly devote time and attention to yourself, that people will come and interfere with the process. Though you may be moving in a better direction, they are not satisfied with playing a minor and even non-existent role in the movie of your life. No matter how well suited these people are to the roles they cast for themselves. 

Jasper was clearly a manipulative and gas lighting person. Dropping hints like ‘you get me’ and ‘I’ve flown halfway across the word to see you’. He responds to Iris’ line of question about whether he has broken up with his fiancé with the words ‘I wish you could just accept how confused I am about all this’. Manipulation tactic 101.

She finally calls out that “this twisted, toxic thing between us is finally over”. She is empowered by the space she has been given to see him and what they had for what it truly is. Iris, as she puts it so aptly, ‘has a life to start living’.

With all I have experienced and been through, it’s so interesting how clearly I can see things portrayed in films. It’s like realizing all the dirty jokes layered through Disney films and cartoons in your adulthood. It is enjoyable and yet eye-opening.

Whilst there was romance, there was still (in Maggie’s case) an emphasis on finding who she was and giving herself time and space to heal. Whilst she did meet someone cute and loveable in Miles – Jack Black – it wasn’t the sole focus of her journey. In Contrast, Amanda quickly found herself in the arms of a hunky Jude Law/Graham. This goes to show that people move on in different ways. Neither way is good or bad, just personal.

This film showed the complexities of relationships pain, angst and the beauty of love. All wrapped up in one cheesy festive bow. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d still swoon if someone I was dating uttered these words to me:

That doesn’t mean I will fall so easily again. Because I don’t want a mediocre love. I want fireworks and heat. Affection, warmth, openness, honesty, fun, laughter and so many more things. I want a love that will last for generations to come and I will settle for nothing less. Because after a draining 2017-2018. I think I’ve finally found a little bit of understanding and a voice for myself. Kate Winslet put it best:

There were so many great and memorable lines in this film but my favourite to round out this blog post is: ‘I’m looking for corny in my life.’ I loved the interaction with Arthur Abbott and Iris simpkton. It was my favourite kind of love for the whole film. The romance of being friends and helping one another. How proud and emotional they are walking through the doors to see everyone celebrate the legacy of his career. Despite his feelings of being old, his embarrassment of using a Zimmer frame the friendship these two builds helps him to rebuild his own confidence and experience a lifetime achievement.

I enjoyed the slow progression and innocence of romance between Maggie and Miles. It seemed more realistic than the budding sexual tension between Amanda and Maggies brother, Graham. Of course there was the cliché rom-com ending followed by a run of desperation where Cameron Diaz, who plays Amanda, realizes that Graham aka Jude Law is the man she loves and will do anything for (they even made sure to edit in the fast-paced and up-tempo yet suspenseful music in time for a dramatic  to run into his arms). However, call me a cynic but I don’t think love happens this way, or maybe it does. Watch this space, and maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

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