On The Holiday, Unrequited love and Confessions of a Silly Girl


Have you ever come across a movie or literary character and jumped out in amazement, 'Whoa! That's totally me!'? It is not surprising though. After all, all stories are taken from life only
When I first watched The Holiday, I could not relate myself to any character though. But back then, I was a happy soul. Filled with all sort of positive energy and hope and dream. The sad opening monologue of Kate Winslet did not create any impression on me. Or Cameron Diaz's paranoia towards love and men did not haunt me much. The Holiday was like any other good romantic movies to me.
After a long time one fine evening I thought of watching that movie again. Now my readers, you must take note that by that time I was remotely not the same person that I used to be a year ago. Now my soul looked like the chain smoker's lungs from the scary anti smoking campaign. This time the monologue hit me like a thunder. Now I know what unrequited love is, and how it feels to be in the most brutal unmerciful nauseous kind of love. It's not love actually. It's self destruction.
In the movie Iris (Kate Winslet) is a thirty something journalist from Surray working for a London tabloid. She has been in love with an ass that appears like a man for three painful years of her life. She describes these three years as the 'worst years of my life' with worst Christmases and worst birthdays. This guy, Jasper Bloom cheated on her when they were in a relationship. But they remained friends (read 'manipulating and exploiting her by using her weakness over him'). Iris is a great human being with a heart of gold. Who does not know possessing a good heart is an invitation to getting screwed over by the world these days? She brings him Christmas gift and in return he forgets to tell her that he is engaged to be married to the girl he cheated on with Iris years ago. A heartbroken devastated Iris tries to kill herself but then stops her. There is another woman in the story who is totally different from Iris but very similar in some ways. Both are emotionally screwed up human beings. Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) is a very successful Hollywood movie trailer maker from L.A. who just broke up with her musician boyfriend who cheated on her. What's with men and cheating huh? Although this guy is not half as bad as Jasper Bloom. Amanda describes herself as a 'Loner, loser and a complicated wreck.' She is bad at relationships and cannot cry. In order to find peace and to heal themselves they opt for an online house swapping programme and agreed to exchange their houses with each other's during the Christmas holiday. Iris comes to L.A. and Amanda to Surray. The story of two women's soul searching begins.
Iris tries to shut off her sadistic ex boyfriend by telling him that she needs to move on. But this Jasper guy keeps stalking her only to satisfy his selfish needs. He even comes chasing her all the way to L.A. with his great plan of maintaining a secret affair with Iris while he is still with his fiancée. Finally Iris reaches her moment of impact and she realises she is finally over with this 'toxic, twisted thing' that has been emotionally draining her for years. She kicks him out and eventually finds the right man. In the meanwhile, Amanda also falls in love but her paranoid nature won't let her commit. She chooses to leave and on the way she suddenly realises she is crying. Yes she is crying after a very long time. Long back when her parents got divorced she chose not to cry and get a grip on her life. She realises she is in love and goes back to her man.
.. Then they lived happily ever after.
Every time I watch this movie I realise I am a 60-40 combination of Iris and Amanda. I too am stuck in a poisonous codependent vicious cycle of unrequited love for past two years. How many times I cried and said 'I hate my horrible life.' like Iris did? Countless, perhaps. Like Iris, I blame myself for the selfish behaviour of the other person thinking it was my entire fault that it did not work. And even if I try to move on, the selfish giant from my past keeps coming back haunting me. It's like getting poked at the same wound over and over again and being blamed for screaming in pain. No, I have not reached my moment of impact yet. My optimism borders on naiveness and stupidity. On the other hand, I am also a 'loner, loser and complicated wreck' who looks at world with suspicion and paranoia and sabotages if something is going good in her life. Well, I cry a lot though. Even some people think crying is my favourite pass time. This is called great humour coming out of the darkest moments of one's life. There is no dearth of humour in my life.

My favourite moments of the movie:
1. The opening monologue. It's long, but could be more apt.
I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas', the worst Birthday's, New Years Eve's brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I've been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him! Heart pounding! Throat thickening! Absolutely can't swallow! All the usual symptoms.

2. When Iris bursts into tears and says, 'You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake! Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained anything to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.'

3. The cross connection between Amanda, Iris and Graham. The scene was hilarious.

4. The moment Iris shuts the door on Jasper's face and jumps out in joy realising she is finally over him.

5. The scene when Amanda will start smiling seeing tears on her eyes and the English chauffeur's quizzical expression seeing that on the rearview mirror. So much was told through that one simple moment.
And of course this monologue of Iris.

I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn't know you had inside you. And it doesn't matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends... you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he'll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you'll go somewhere new. And you'll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.

Till date no movie no novel could possibly describe my state of mind more aptly than this.

Quote courtesy: Imdb

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