THE HOLIDAY AND ITS GENERIC ROMANTIC COMEDY CONVENTIONS
MAY 3RD, 2012
a brief excerpt…
By adhering to Grindon’s model of romantic comedies, an analysis will be provided on the validity of The Holiday’s classification as a romantic comedy.
Typically, the journey of the characters happens later in a romantic comedy. But in The Holiday, travel is essential for the characters to meet each other. It also allows for Iris and Amanda to begin their growth towards more wholesome lives immediately, instead of waiting for their counterparts to “complete” them. Upon arriving in Surrey, Amanda adjusts to her smaller living quarters by drinking wine and watching sappy love movies. Her goal was to feel less alone during the holidays, but it did not work out so well. Luckily, Iris’ brother, Graham,a book editor and publisher, knocks on the front door. He is intoxicated and looking for a couch to spend the night on. This “meet cute” is not as cute as it is full of sexual tension. Amanda and Graham end up having sex, promising that it does not matter because they will never see each other again. In the morning, Amanda has decided she is going home, but Graham seems interested in seeing more of her, especially when she decides to stay. In LA, Iris meets Miles, a composer and friend of Amanda’s ex. He is already seeing someone, but the chemistry is there, even after brief conversation. We know they will meet again.
As the plot progresses, Amanda and Graham go on dates. They learn about each other, exchanging tidbits of information. They even have sex for a second time and spend the night together. Amanda challenges the relationship by worrying; she becomes the obstacle that hinders the relationship from progressing. She believes that Graham is going to be like every other guy she has been with: only in it for the sex. Yet, Amanda gets jealous when the names of other women appear on his phone. She claims that their relationship cannot progress due to the long distance issue. In Los Angeles, Iris meets Arthur (Eli Wallach), an elderly, retired screenwriter. The two become quick friends and Miles even joins their group on occasion. They bond over discussing films, love, and Arthur’s career in Hollywood. Arthur senses the connection between Iris and Miles and pushes Iris to realize her potential as the leading lady in her own life, to find her gumption. Iris’ relationship with Arthur, to me, is the most important in the film; he gives her the tools to find herself. The big obstacle in the Iris/Miles relationship is his girlfriend Maggie. She is away for a good portion of the film, filming on location in Santa Fe, but still something Iris and Miles must overcome to be together.