What We Did on Our Holiday

"Excellent"

What We Did on Our Holiday Review


Although its story easily could have spun right off the rails, this British comedy uses earthy honesty to win the audience over. The filmmakers also refuse to shy away from things that are usually taboo in family movies, like marital problems, sexuality and mortality. And by never indulging in wacky slapstick or trite moralising, the movie makes the point that sometimes the worst thing we can do to our kids is try to protect them from what's really happening.

The story starts in London, as Abi and Doug (Rosamund Pike and David Tennant) set off to drive north to the Scotland Highlands for the 75th birthday of David's father Gordy (Billy Connolly). They've told their three hilariously overactive kids Lottie, Mickey and Jess (Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge and Harriet Turnbull) not to say anything to anyone about their crumbling marriage. And when they arrive it's clear that everyone has something they don't want to talk about. Gordy is avoiding conversations about his terminal cancer, while David's brother Gavin (Ben Miller) and his wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore) are also covering up facts from their recent past. Then on a day trip to the beach, the holiday takes a startling turn.

Where the film goes from here hinges on the actions of three children under 10 years old, and all three actors are terrific, creating believable characters who are bursting with individualistic personalities. Watching them try to decode the adult world around them is thoroughly engaging, with the humour lightly balanced by some darker truths. Meanwhile, the grown-up cast get to play the more obviously comical moments, including a few rather too-broad gags. But each of them keeps their character in focus, never letting them tip over into cartoonish silliness. Pike, Tennant and Connolly are all terrific, with pointed support from Miller and Bullmore, plus Imrie as a rather too-knowing social worker.

Writer-directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins (who are also behind the somewhat wackier TV series Outnumbered) are adept at keeping the tone light while exploring some very serious issues. And the Highlands add an eye-catching visual touch, providing a meaningful background to everything that happens on this eventful multi-generational vacation. As the script circles around to become a lively and knowing exploration of family connections, there's sometimes the feeling that it's touching on some huge themes in a way that's somewhat glib. But the actors and filmmakers continually avoid both melodrama and mawkishness, so the end result is thoroughly entertaining and even quietly moving. And the themes manage to get under the skin too.



What We Did on Our Holiday

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th September 2014

Distributed by: BBC Films

Production compaines: LionsGate, BBC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andy Hamilton,

Producer: David M. Thompson, Dan Winch

Starring: as Doug, as Abi, as Gavin McLeod, Bobby Smalldridge as Mickey McLeod, Emilia Jones as Lottie McLeod, as Gavin McLeod

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.