30 Feminist Christmas Movies, Ranked

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The Holiday, Screencap via Columbia Pictures/Universal Pictures

The Holiday

The Holiday follows Iris, a newspaper editor in London, and Amanda, a movie trailer producer in LA. When Iris’s long-time lover Jasper gets engaged to someone else, she is devastated. Around the same time, Amanda discovers her live-in boyfriend Ethan has been cheating on her. Both women decide they need a change, and find each other on a house-swap website. They agree to vacation in each other’s homes for two weeks over the holidays. Both go on holiday to find themselves, but end up finding much more.

The Good

  • Iris and Amanda’s complexity. Both are imagined as multifaceted, realistic, yet very different women. Iris is loving, friendly, and reserved, whereas Amanda is sassy, frazzled, and outspoken. Both, however, are looking for a reprieve from the harshness of their lives, and both are portrayed as worthy of it. Though Amanda is the more abrasive of the two, her softness is well represented. Likewise, Iris finds her strength.
  • Iris’s plot is somewhat refreshing, as it is based mainly on her friendship with a plucky octogenarian rather than a romantic relationship.

The Bad

  • Both of the women’s storylines center on men. Particularly, Amanda becomes infatuated with Graham, leading to a romantic storyline that becomes the major part of her story. Iris also has a romantic storyline, but it is more subtle.
  • At first, Amanda claims that she can’t cry, but ends up bawling at the though of losing what she has with Graham. This change perpetuates the idea that women are inherently outwardly emotional, especially about men.
  • Iris’s revelation that she should be the “leading lady of [her] own life” comes from Arthur.

The Ugly

  • Iris, grieving Jasper’s engagement, puts her head in the oven to intentionally inhale gas. She quickly snaps out of it, slapping herself and saying, “Low point!” Yeah. Low point for the audience, too.