Festive rom-coms like The Holiday are definitely all the rage these days. And while you may think that Netflix is the ultimate destination for Christmas romances, long before The Princess Switch, The Knight Before Christmas, or A Christmas Prince, there was The Holiday. This festive film stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as Amanda and Iris, two women who, after being unlucky in love, impulsively decide to swap homes for the holidays. Amanda ends up in Iris’ quaint, cozy cottage in England, while Iris finds herself living in Amanda’s luxurious Los Angeles mansion. And the women don’t lack company — Amanda falls in love with Iris’ dashing brother Graham, played by Jude Law, while Iris meets Miles, a funny, charming film composer, played by Jack Black (via The Guardian).
The holiday rom-com first came out in 2006, so chances are you were a teenager or even a kid when you first saw the film. Well, we re-watched this holiday classic and couldn’t help but clock a few things that we missed as kids. It turns out, there are a few things in The Holiday that you only really notice as an adult.
The Holiday ticks all the boxes when it comes to interior design
First thing’s first: we need to talk about the stunning homes in The Holiday! When you’re a kid, interior design is hardly something you notice. But, returning to The Holiday as an adult, we were blown away by the unrealistically gorgeous homes.
First, Amanda’s L.A. mansion boasts tall gates, a gigantic swimming pool, remote controlled black-out blinds, and flawless contemporary design. In fact, as Hooked on Houses pointed out, Amanda’s designs were seriously on trend. Her neutral home had white furniture, seagrass rugs, and a few well-placed plants — it’s all very Goop. It’s clear now that this luxurious interior design is over the top. Apparently, it cost the filmmakers $1 million to design — and that’s without any plumbing or electricity!
Additionally, Iris’ cozy Surrey cottage probably looked pretty run-of-the-mill, and even a little small to your eyes as kids. However, watching the film again as adults, it’s clear that this idyllic rural home would be almost impossible to come by. As House & Garden reported, the cottage was packed with stereotypical English cottage features, including an open fire, low-hanging wooden beams, and shabby chic decor.
The infamous "boob graze" moment in The Holiday hasn't aged well
Pretty much every movie from the early 2000s has a few moments that feel a little inappropriate from a modern perspective. One such moment comes in The Holiday when Iris and Miles are having lunch at a sushi bar, when Miles leans in front of Iris and accidentally grazes her chest with his arm. What follows is meant to be a cute, endearing, funny exchange as Miles awkwardly apologizes. However, watching the scene in a modern context, it feels just a bit too awkward. As Refinery29 put it, it’s seriously “cringey.”
Of course, the scene could be a lot worse; it is just an accident after all. And, as writer Nancy Meyers explained to ComingSoon, the moment was actually inspired by a real-life accidental “boob graze.” “One day on the set [Jack Black] bumped into me and said, ‘Oh, sorry about the boob graze,’ and I just laughed so hard because men bump into women all the time like that and act like they didn’t do it,” Meyers recalled. Apparently, she thought it was so funny, she wrote it into his next scene.
Jude Law's character just gets better with age
When we were kids, Jude Law’s character in The Holiday seemed like a bit of an “old guy.” He was a dad of two after all! However, as adults, Graham is pretty much the ultimate romantic lead. As Cosmopolitan pointed out, he’s basically perfect! Not only is he the quintessential British hunk, complete with cozy sweaters, thick-rimmed spectacles, effortlessly floppy hair, and the dreamy accent, but his personality also seems to be flawless. He’s also a great dad who takes care of his two daughters all by himself.
Plus, in the age of the “macho” man, Graham completely subverts this stereotype. For instance, on his date with Amanda, he openly admits to crying “all the time.” How could we have not noticed this perfect male specimen as kids? Even Law admitted that his character was pretty much the best. “Graham’s a good guy, you know,” he said in an interview (via Screen Slam). “He’s trying to do the right thing.”
In The Holiday, it's a bit crazy how unprepared Amanda is for Christmas in England
Re-watching The Holiday as an adult, we suddenly noticed that Amanda’s (admittedly stunning) wardrobe is super inappropriate for a cozy Christmas in the British countryside. Where are her warm boots for trekking through the fields? And what’s with all the fluffy white fur?
Not only are Amanda’s clothes incredibly impractical, she also brought a lot of options for someone who thought she’d be sitting alone in a cottage getting through a pile of books. As Repeller noted, she decided to bring three different coats with her — for two weeks! Plus, she also managed to squeeze a super glamorous evening wear dress into her luggage (via Cosmopolitan). That seems like an odd choice for someone intending to hibernate on a cottage sofa all Christmas.
Finally, there are the shoes. Amanda arrives in the English countryside literally wearing a pair of stilettos! Amanda was ridiculously unprepared for a winter in the countryside judging by her absurd wardrobe.
We seriously doubt anyone would swap homes without doing a little more research like they did in The Holiday
The entire plot of The Holiday revolves around two women impulsively swapping homes for Christmas — and when we say impulsively, we mean it! Amanda and Iris seemingly do zero research about where they’re heading before agreeing to home swap. When Iris arrives in L.A., for instance, it’s clear that the only thing she knows about where she’s going is the address. Based on her reactions to the neighborhood, she didn’t do any recon about where she was heading. And based on her reactions to the house itself, it’s clear that she’d never even seen any pictures of it. Talk about taking a huge risk!
As The Telegraph pointed out, doing research before committing to a home swap is essential. Without finding out about your exchange partner, you could easily find yourself in a home that doesn’t suit your needs at all. “It’s important to study photos carefully, look at the feedback and communicate fully with the owner well in advance,” the newspaper advised. We have to say, Iris got seriously lucky with her home exchange!
The timeline literally makes no sense in The Holiday
One thing really strikes you about The Holiday as an adult viewer is that the timeline makes pretty much no sense. In fact, the more you think about it, the more confusing it becomes.
At the beginning of the film, Iris’ boss says, “We are going to try and get by this week with a smaller-than-normal staff.” So, Cosmopolitan concluded it must be around December 22 when The Holiday begins.
It follows, then, that the two women start their vacation on December 23. By that logic, many of the main events in the film, like Amanda’s first date with Graham, Iris’ dinner party with Miles and Arthur, Amanda meeting Graham’s kids, and so on, all take place on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — and yet, those two days are completely missing from the movie! For a Christmas movie, there is a noticeable lack of Christmas in The Holiday!
That ridiculous "foreplay is overrated line" in The Holiday hits differently as an adult
One of the most uncomfortable lines in The Holiday for adults comes when Amanda and Graham first meet. When they’re discussing sleeping together, Graham says, “How do you feel about foreplay?” to which Amanda replies, “I think it’s overrated. Significantly overrated.” Graham comes back with, “You are quickly becoming one of the most interesting girls I’ve ever met.” As one Twitter user joked, “CUT TO: The worst sex ever.”
As WebMD noted, foreplay is an important part of making intimacy enjoyable, particularly for women. Of course, most adults already know this, so watching The Holiday as an adult, you suddenly realize how weird this little exchange is. Add to that the fact that Graham literally praises Amanda for disliking an activity that’s mostly about the female, not the male. It’s not exactly a feminist portrayal to say the least!
Um, who is taking care of Graham's kids while he's gallivanting around the countryside with Amanda in The Holiday?
One of the most glaring plot holes in The Holiday only really becomes clear once you’re an adult viewer. If Jude Law’s Graham is a single father of two small children, how does he manage to spend so much time away from home? For one, he apparently frequently sleeps over at his sister’s house after getting too drunk. And when he spends the night with Amanda at the cottage for the second night in a row, he impulsively asks her to spend the next day with him.
So, where are Graham’s kids all this time? What single father has the luxury to leave home for more than 24 hours straight? And who is taking care of the kids? We have a lot of questions about Graham’s childcare situation in this film. Unless he has a live-in nanny, his long, laid-back dates with Amanda seem seriously unrealistic! As the New Statesman noted, it seems like Graham has literally abandoned his kids on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning!
The fact that Graham's daughters both have their own cell phones in The Holiday is super unrealistic
Like most rom-coms, The Holiday doesn’t want any of its relationships to feel too easy. To keep the audience on their toes, the script includes a few suspicious phone calls to Graham from “Olivia” and “Sophie.” Amanda is left wondering, “Who are all of these women in Graham’s life?” Of course, they turn out to be his two adorable daughters, which is great news for Amanda. But it does beg the question: why do these two small kids both have their own cell phones in 2006?
As the New Statesman noted, these girls are just 7 and 5 years old, so these phones are probably meant to be reserved for emergency phone calls — which makes it pretty odd that Graham is so laid-back about answering the calls! And as Refinery29 noted, it would be far more likely for Graham to be receiving calls from “HOME” or “NANNY.” This is one plot hole that’s seriously hard to ignore as an adult!
Wait, was that Dustin Hoffman in The Holiday?
As a kid, you probably weren’t that familiar with Dustin Hoffman — and you certainly wouldn’t have known about his famous film The Graduate. But while re-watching The Holiday as adults, we suddenly realized that Hoffman actually has a very quick cameo in the film. When Miles is wandering through the video store singing various famous theme tunes for Iris, he picks up The Graduate and sings his rendition of its famous Simon & Garfunkel theme, “Mrs. Robinson.” We then see a quick shot of a man glancing up at them in disdain. It turns out, that’s actually the real Dustin Hoffman!
Apparently, Hoffman’s cameo was actually a last minute addition to the film. In the DVD commentary, viewers learn that Hoffman had been near the set when he noticed the cameras and decided to find out what project was being filmed. As he knew the director, Nancy Meyers, the two thought it would be fun to create a quick cameo for the actor (via BuzzFeed).
The Arthur Abbott storyline in The Holiday is so much more touching as an adult
As kids watching The Holiday, we weren’t particularly interested in the storyline about Arthur Abbott, the elderly neighbor in L.A. who has endless stories about the Golden Age of Hollywood. However, as adults, this part of the film suddenly seems so much more poignant and touching than it did when we were younger. As ScreenRant noted, Iris’s relationship with Arthur is playful and heartwarming, ending with the tear-jerking scene when Arthur finally realizes how big his impact has been on the film industry.
As Kate Winslet explained to Collider, working with Eli Wallach, who played Arthur, was a pretty magical experience in itself. “He’d just come out with these glorious anecdotes,” she recalled. “Just fantastic stories of experiences that he has had that were directly useful in playing Iris, because she had that level of fascination with Arthur, and I just had it.”
Mental health problems are treated like the butt of a joke in The Holiday
Adults tend to have a much more nuanced understanding of the importance of taking mental health problems seriously than children do. So when re-watching The Holiday as adults, we suddenly realized how nonchalant the film is when it comes to mental health. In fact, depression and anxiety are often treated like a joke rather than a serious issue.
In a 2018 article, Refinery29 noted that the entire cast is made up of “deeply troubled people” who are going through various types of trauma. Amanda, for instance, is so stressed that she gets “esophageal spasms.” As Medical News Today explained, if these are caused by stress, it’s usually a sign that treatment is needed.
As for Iris, she’s shown heartbroken and sobbing after discovering that her ex is engaged. She even goes as far as to turn up the gas on her stove. It seems like the movie just glosses over her attempt on her life, which seems deeply inappropriate and decidedly unfunny.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Where's the festive food in The Holiday?
For a Christmas film, The Holiday is missing one important thing: holiday food! As Vice noted, there’s plenty of food in the film, but none of it is even remotely festive. Aside from Amanda’s indulgent grocery haul of wine, cheese, and mince pies, the rest of the food is decidedly un-Christmassy.
For instance, Iris and Miles are seen eating at a sushi bar. Nothing could be less like warm, comforting Christmas food than fish and veggies! In another scene, Iris and Miles decide to whip up some “Christmas fettuccine” on Christmas Eve. As Vice puts it, it’s “confusing and upsetting” to see such regular food. What about the scene when Iris and Miles are seen drinking ice cold frappuccinos – why couldn’t it have been a nice cider, hot chocolate, or mulled wine? As adults, Christmas food is one of the best parts of the holiday season — so why does The Holiday refuse to give us any indulgent holiday meals?
By the end of The Holiday, we still have no idea about how these relationships are actually going to work
Rom-coms are famous for delivering a good happily-ever-after ending. And while The Holiday seems like it ends with the two couples happily settled down together, it’s actually not the happy ending we imagined when we were young.
As BuzzFeed pointed out, it’s actually super depressing. Towards the end of the film, Amanda and Graham discuss their relationship. While Graham tells her, “I love you,” Amanda explains that their only real option is long distance since they have careers and families to consider. After that, Amanda leaves the next day to return home; however, when she starts to cry in the cab, she races back to Graham to say, “Why would I ever leave before New Year’s Eve?”
Sadly, this plan for a slightly longer holiday doesn’t answer any of the questions about how this relationship will actually work. And for Iris and Miles, we have the same issue. What’s the plan? Are Miles and Amanda actually going to move to England and leave behind their careers? Sadly, this ending seems a lot less satisfying as an adult.
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