It’s much harder to write a review about a good movie than a bad one; it's simpler to put your finger on a film's flaws. Unfortunately for me, ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ is a very good film... I’ll try to explain why.
‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ is the story of Lottie, Mickey and Jess; three children from London who travel with their (secretly) separated parents to Scotland for their grandfather’s 75th birthday party. As with every family drama/comedy, there’s bitterness, affection, and plenty of secrets. On the day of the party, the children are alone with their grandfather on the beach when they make a choice that will either bring the family together or tear them apart forever.
'WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY' TRAILER
Now, why is ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ so much better than, say, ‘This is Where I Leave You’? Firstly, it’s hilarious! There are many genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and none of them ever feel like you’re laughing because you think you’re meant to. They arrive naturally, and (hats off to the directing/writing team of Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin) with perfect comic timing. And not only is the film funny, but the dramatic and serious moments are handled perfectly. You may need tissues.
Secondly, ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ is very well made. The cast is excellent, particularly the children. David Tennant as the kids’ dad Doug flexes his dramatic muscles, while Rosamund Pike as mum Abi displays more of the talent that’s winning her roles left, right and centre. Supported by a smattering of brilliant British actors, I cannot fault the performances in the slightest. Special mention to Billy Connolly, whose versatility and honest portrayal of a man who’s found joy in the simple things, continues to deserve recognition.
There are many genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and none of them ever feel like you’re laughing because you think you’re meant to.
The score is delightful: simple melodies tinged with just the right amount of Celtic influence, paired with some glorious sweeping shots of the Scottish highlands set the scene beautifully. Editing is unobtrusive, and while there is a montage, it’s really rather well put together.
Story-wise, the entire tale is believable and relatable. The adults are all so caught up within themselves that they have failed to notice just how very clever and observant their children are. There are messages here about family, forgiveness, parenting, life, death… and even the opportunistic media.
‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ is an excellent, charming, heart-warming film that aims to inspire us just to be better to each other, and to remember that really, in the end, life and the people we love are really what matter.