I Have a Bone to Pick With ‘The Holiday’
12.14.17

The Holiday is, in my humble opinion, one of Nancy Meyers’ best romantic comedies. It is also, in my equally humble opinion, one of her most entertainingly unrealistic.

For proof, allow me to present a series of unanswered questions, selected at random from the dazzling cocoon of my brain:

1a. Am I supposed to believe that Iris, a.k.a. Kate Winslet, one of the most objectively mesmerizing women in the world, has nothing better to do than pine after a pathetic two-timer named Jasper Bloom for years of her life?

1b. Has Jasper Bloom seen Titanic?

2. Am I supposed to believe that Iris, who seems like an ideal houseguest in every respect, would cavalierly flop onto the freshly made-bed of Amanda, a.k.a. Cameron Diaz, in her airplane clothes?!?

3. Of all the things Amanda might flirtatiously feed Graham a.k.a. Jude Law, on their first date, would a green vegetable really be her romantic shared sampling of choice?

4. Amid the preponderance of holiday songs that logically make up the soundtrack for a movie called The Holiday, why and how did Frou Frou’s “Let Go” sneak its way in? (This question has nothing to do with the unrealistic nature of the plot but remains pressing in my mind nonetheless, especially because that song will forever remind me of Garden State.)

5. Why didn’t Iris tell Graham that a strange woman would be staying in her cottage for the holidays — oh, and also, that she’ll be in L.A. so don’t bother setting her a place for Christmas dinner?

6. Considering that Graham’s children both appear to be under the age of nine, why, pray tell, would they be in possession of their very own personal cell phones (in 2006, no less)?

7. How is it that Amanda Brooks, a California resident, had the foresight to bring THREE distinctively chic winter coats to Surrey despite her intentions to hibernate solo in a remote cottage for the entirety of her vacation and her purported ignorance of the fact that she would meet a dashing local gentleman by the name of Graham, which would thereby provide occasions to wear the aforementioned THREE distinctively chic winter coats?

That last question haunts me the most.

For my entire life, or at least ever since I mastered the use of my opposable thumbs, I have abided by a packing strategy that’s nestled in the comforting bosom of pure pragmatism: If you don’t think you’ll need it, you won’t.

If I were packing for a remote solo getaway in freezing cold climate like Amanda conceivably was, I would have filled a suitcase with nothing but sweats and ONE ginormous, floor-length, thoroughly unflattering puffer coat. What more could I possible need given the intended scenario?

That’s where things would go terribly awry in the version of The Holiday starring yours truly. I would meet Graham a.k.a. Jude Law (!!!) and fall in love (even though I told him very explicitly I wouldn’t), and I would have nothing to wear except my ginormous, floor-length, thoroughly unflattering puffer coat as we frolicked across the English countryside. Graham would probably develop strong feelings for me regardless because he seems like a really nice guy, but things just wouldn’t be the same — aesthetically or practically. Have you ever tried to frolic in a floor-length puffer coat?

Unrealistic as Amanda’s foresight may seem IRL, it also makes a very effective case for overpacking, because you really never know what might happen, or when you might meet Jude Law.

I hope you enjoyed this holiday season installment of “things that keep Harling up at night,” a new Man Repeller series idea I sincerely hope no one green-lights. (However, Nancy Meyers, if you’re reading, I would love to know where those three distinctively chic coats are from).

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