What’s not surprising, however, is the very Hollywood approach to pre-marital sex that’s prevalent throughout. Rather than take the time to get to know each other and take the abstinence route, Amanda and Graham sleep together right after they meet. Of course, the next morning, they act completely normal around each other, as if it wasn’t a big deal (which I’m sure happens all the time when people don’t subscribe to a Christian worldview). But despite her confidence in hopping into bed with a complete stranger, Amanda sees the emptiness of a relationship purely based on sex and admittedly lacks the emotional ability to commit to a lasting relationship – something she only learns as she and Graham get vulnerable and really begin to communicate, which is always an important lesson.

It’s ultimately through the evolution of their relationship – not to mention an important detail that I won’t ruin for you about Graham – that one really begins rooting for the couple to stay together for the long haul.

Equally, if not more captivating, is seeing Iris bloom from her previously frumpy and emotionally drained self. While it’s hard to believe that Winslet could pull off the role of a dowdy writer, she does so with aplomb, proving her varied skills as an actress. Also surprising is Law’s charming turn as a sensitive (rather than smarmy) book editor and Black's subdued performance that’s a far cry from over-the-top characters like Nacho in "Nacho Libre" and J.B. in “Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny.” As for Diaz, well, she seems like she’s just being herself, which doesn’t make her job too difficult.

Ultimately, it’s the great casting, not to mention an engaging storyline that makes “The Holiday” a step above most chick flicks.  And even though Hollywood equates love with sex once again, there are still some relationship dynamics lessons that can be learned here.
 
AUDIENCE:  Older teens and up (parents should consider the casual view of pre-marital sex before taking teens).

CAUTIONS:

  • Alcohol/Drugs:  Characters are shown consuming alcohol throughout the course of the movie. Graham has a propensity for getting drunk to mask his troubles.
  • Language/Profanity:  A few mild expletives here and there and one “F” word used for comic effect. Several instances of the Lord’s name taken in vain.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Pre-marital sex is definitely the norm – in conversation and practice – for these characters as Iris discusses past sexual encounters with Jasper. Amanda and Graham sleep together before even having a first date. Later on, there’s a scene where Amanda and Graham are in bed (nothing explicit is shown) although Graham is bare chested and Amanda is shown in her bra and panties. 
  • Violence:  None.