There’s one thing I do at least once a week, which is aimlessly browse Netflix looking for something that will fill the exact need I have at that moment. Granted, the Brazilian catalog has less titles than the American one, but there are still more movies than I can count, so “I can’t find anything to watch!” is basically just an excuse to not watch anything. I’d scrolled past “What We Did on Our Holiday” a couple of times already, and though I got a bit curious about it since I like David Tennant and Rosamund Pike a lot, it was only when a friend recommended it that I finally decided to give it a shot.
The film follows Abi (Pike), Doug (Tennant) and their three kids as they go on a holiday to Scotland to attend Doug’s dad birthday party. The catch is that Doug and Abi are in the midst of a divorce, and no one in the family except the kids know about it. To make matters worse, Gordie (the grandfather) is sick, and Doug and Abi don’t want to burden him with the divorce on what may be his last birthday. It all sounds like your typical romantic comedy, but the movie has enough twists and turns to keep itself interesting and fresh, while maintaining the comedy and bringing in a dash of drama as well.
For me, the kids were the best part about this movie. Sometimes in movies we see children that are just not at all realistic, often by being too smart for their age. The child actors here were able to remain genuine even when encountering an unlikely situation, and even though they are mature, they also don’t let the audience forget that they’re kids. The two youngest ones also bring in the biggest laughs, and you end up being endeared by them, not annoyed. I thought the movie was a nice reflection on how sometimes adults get too wrapped up in their personal drama and forget to look around once in a while and pay attention to what’s really important.
Billy Connolly, who played the grandfather, was particularly great in this. His approach to the chaotic adults in his family and the way he dealt with matters of life and death were especially nice, and there was no need for cheap sentimentalisms to make the audience actually care about the character.
Another thing that really sets this film apart is the scenery. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had this weird obsession with Scotland for some reason, and so I really enjoyed that that’s where the movie is set, especially since it makes for a very beautiful final scene. The soundtrack was also really great, and the folk sounds helped set the movie even more.
Though this movie isn’t by any means a masterpiece, I was pleasantly surprised by it! The kids were a joy to watch, Rosamund Pike and David Tennant are always good and the overall theme of the movie really got me thinking. If you’re looking for a light movie that still brings something to the table, maybe you should give this one a shot and tell me what you think!
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