What we did on our holiday
Live more, think less
Classic Elsternwick - Sunday 15 February 2015, 12:30pm
Running time: 96m
Country: United Kingdom
Release date: 05/02/15
Cost: $10 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 8/10 (ME 4/5, DP 4/5)
What we did on our holiday opens with the chaos of a divorcing couple, Doug (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike) preparing to take their three children on a trip from London to Scotland to visit their terminally ill grandfather Gordie (Billy Connnolly) for his 75th birthday party. The behaviour of this couple is at times atrocious and is shown to impact on their three young children in many different ways. This attempt to play "happy families" is the first of many examples of extreme dysfunction, often hilariously depicted in this movie (and a prime example of one of the many lies that concern the children throughout). The hilarity, confusion and awkwardness compounds further as we are introduced to Doug's wealthy and uptight brother Gavin (Ben Miller) and his long suffering wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore) who proves to be a YouTube sensation in her own right.
There is wonderfully colourful language, many jokes that are perhaps a little bit off, laughter, tears, happiness and sadness as the story progresses. The three children, Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge) and little Jess (Harriet Turnbull) regularly steal the show with their various wonderful quirks, that only serve to make you like them more, and their deadpan and matter-of-fact delivery of some very funny lines. They appear to be handling the tribulations of their parents' divorce with aplomb, however it is the scenes where they are shown individually with their dying grandfather, away from the chaos of their family, that are the most poignant and reveal understanding and insight beyond their years. What we see is the naive wisdom of the children combined with the clarity of a man coming to terms with the end of his life, while still wanting to do so much more living. The story takes many unexpected twists and turns as we watch the interactions between the various family members in the lead up to the gala birthday celebrations.
What we did on our holiday delivers charming performances from the ensemble cast, with delightfully unaffected performances from the three children. Billy Connolly is particularly notable in his role as the dying patriarch of the family (quite a surprise to those of us used to his regular bawdy comedic antics). Along the way we also learn a bit about the lesbians from Lesbia, the Norse god Odin and rocks with names like 'Norman'. This movie delivers many genuine laughs and also some heartfelt tears as it takes us through to an immensely satisfying conclusion. An early contender for 'Feel Good Film of 2015'. Definitely recommended. (DP)