Thanks to a recommendation from my friend, Carol, I jumped on The Holiday as soon as I saw it in the library's DVD section.
Carol, I owe you one. This was fantastic, and I am now the proud owner of a copy, planning some Christmas all year round double features with Love Actually. I've only had good experiences with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet and the more recent Alfie had put me on a Jude Law kick anyway, so the big surprise here was how much I liked Jack Black's performance, as his type doesn't usually work for me. Here, it most definitely did. Give me pretty much anything with "England" and "Christmas" in the synopsis and I am there in a flash. Adding a good love story to the mix makes it even better. This one has two.
Both heroines, Amanda (Diaz) and Iris (Winslet) are at romantic lows when they switch houses for the holiday with a stranger halfway across the world, which puts them in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Californian Amanda hopes to find refuge in an idyllic English cottage, while English Iris dives into the sun and glamour of Hollywood, to the surprise of Iris' brother, Graham (Law) and Amanda's colleague, Miles (Black.) The two unlikely couples find themselves perfectly suited, though not without realistic issues that must be dealt with before they can find their happy endings. The feel of old classic romance films is present here, with a modern flavor, and even the secondary characters are endearing. Iris and Miles' friend, a retired screenwriter, and two special young ladies in Graham's life provide exactly the right sort of support to further the love stories.
Moonlight fans may experience flashbacks, as the first few minutes include both Alex O'Loughlin and Shannyn Sossamon:
Continuing the Jude Law love, when I discovered that Alfie wasn't the only remake where Jude Law performed a role played by Michael Caine in the original, I had to find Sleuth.
Mr Law is now three for three with me. Loved this one. Taut, suspenseful, and while I've read some critics that called the film's look "claustrophobic," I count that as a plus, as it fits the story of two men locked in a battle of wills perfectly. I can easily see the roots of this story in its original play form and would love to see the play someday.
Andrew Wyke (Caine,) suspense novelist, and Milo Tindle (Law,) an actor and Andrew's wife's lover, meet at Andrew's high tech stately home so that Milo can persuade Andrew to give his wife, Maggie, a divorce so that Milo can be with her. It quickly escalates into something much more sinister when Andrew devises a plot for Milo to fake a jewel theft within the house, which will get Andrew a return on the insurance on the jewels and fund Milo and Maggie's new life abroad. From there, we get a game of cat and mouse, with cat and mouse switching roles more than once on the way to a chilling finish. Before long, Maggie isn't even the issue as the two men battle to see who will be the last man standing.
I am aware there are differences from the 1972 version where Michael Caine played Milo and will be on the lookout for that one. Would love to hear his take on having played both roles in different versions in the same story and if his former portrayal of Milo affected any of his choices in playing Andrew. I am grateful that the clown mask didn't make it into the remake. Never did like clowns, even before Stephen King and It.
What other Jude Law films would you guys recommend?