This British/American Classic is not a Christmas film to be missed. I consider it in my top 5 of all time Christmas films and I make sure to re-watch every year. Nancy Meyers is great writer/director who has done some other great films including The Parent Trap (1998), It’s Complicated, The Intern and Something’s Gotta Give. Her ability to navigate between the two story lines in the US and UK is to be commended. I personally always think of this film as British because the Americans call a holiday, a vacation but it is a hybrid.
The film follows the lives of Iris and Amanda. At the beginning of the film, Iris finds out her ex-boyfriend that she is still in love with is engaged and he neglected to tell her first despite leading her on and getting her to edit his book for free. We see at a low point in her cottage in Surrey until she gets a message from Amanda. She lives in Los Angeles and is very successful as a film trailer editor. The beginning of her story starts with her finding out her boyfriend whom she lives with has cheated on her. She kicks him out but cannot cry about the event. She decided to get away for the holidays and finds Iris’ house on a house swap website. They decide to switch houses in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.
In Surrey, Amanda meets Graham, Iris’ brother and the two start a whirlwind relationship. She tries to move on from Ethan, her ex and becomes vulnerable for the first time since she was a teenager. In L.A., Iris meets Arthur, a retired screenwriter who worked with some of Hollywood’s greats. She also befriends Miles, a film score composer who works with Ethan. The two bond with Arthur and his friends while Miles awaits his girlfriend, Maggie’s return.
I really enjoy this film, I think it is well-written and well acted and the scenery is wintery in England and gives you some winter sun in America. I wouldn’t say it was overly Christmassy but it is definitely a festive film. This is a film for older viewers, ages 12 and up so not one to watch with the kids but it does tug on your heart strings and is full of surprises that any good script should have. Overall 5/5.