In the movie ‘The Holiday’, Iris (Kate Winslet) is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. To recover from this blow, she swaps homes with Amanda (Cameron Diaz) under home exchange during the Christmas holidays. And what follows is their journey to discover their weaknesses, fix the wrongs and find love.
You will find that I have extensively used the quotes from the movie in this post because they are right on spot about what i wish to say.
Well, the movie begins with Iris’ monologue:
I’ve found almost everything ever written about love to be true.
Shakespeare said “Journeys end in lovers meeting.” What an extraordinary thought.
Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives.
It was Shakespeare who also said “love is blind”.
Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert.
Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one-sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual.
And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas’, the worst Birthday’s, New Years Eve’s brought in by tears and Valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I’ve been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back.
And then Iris goes on to find the confidence to fall out of love with this man. And the scene goes like this – Despite being engaged to this other woman, Iris’ lover comes to meet her and gets amorous. They are about to kiss and she asks him if he has left the other woman to be with her and he just evades her questions. And that’s when it happens:
Iris: This was a really close call. You know, I never really thought I’d say this, literally never, but I think you were absolutely right about us. Very square peg, very round hole.
Jasper: You cannot mean that.
Iris: The great thing is I actually do. And I’m about three years late in telling you this, but nevertheless I need to say it. Jasper, you have never treated me right. Ever.
Jasper: Oh, babe.
Iris: Shush. You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don’t want to lose me whilst you’re about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it’s over. This – This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I’m miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I’ve got a life to start living. And you’re not going to be in it.
Jasper: What exactly has got into you?
Iris: I don’t know. But I think what I’ve got is something slightly resembling, gumption.
It was good that Iris finds the gumption to be the ‘leading lady’ of her life. But then again, it’s a movie. The scripts eventually make the leading ladies do and say the right things. That, however, doesn’t always happen in real life. What does happen in real life is:
Iris: (speaking about why we fall for the wrong ones) Because you’re hoping you’re wrong. And every time she does something that tells you she’s no good, you ignore it. And every time she comes through and surprises you, she wins you over, and you lose that argument with yourself, that she’s not for you.
And you cling on to this hope. This warped idea that you think is ‘love’. You don’t always end up with the ‘gumption’ to quit. I didn’t. And i went ahead and succumbed to the ‘toxic relationship’, which has finally led to my destruction.
Because now, it doesn’t matter how much you pretend to laugh or how many holidays you plan or how much involved you get with your baby… and no, it doesn’t matter that you are not living in hell anymore… peace just eludes you… your heart is constantly racing to acquire new records of heartbeats per minute…
Who do you pretend to? You are lonely, no matter what…
And add to that the uncertainty of the war that you have waged… the regret that you did not understand your opponent well before you took the leap – how irredeemably indifferent and selfish he is… and therefore, the war is between two unequals… leading to a pyrrhic victory
You go to bed every night going over every detail of the past and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood and how in the hell for that brief time you could actually think you were happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he’ll see the light and show up at your door…
But you are wrong… you are working against a low tide that will suck you into itself, while you are left struggling for breath…
And then there are your weaknesses to deal with – your dependency or lack of fortitude, your inability to hold on to the good in your life, your ability to lose focus and people, your capacity for ill temper – the list is endless…
How do you survive all of the above and emerge a victor? Emerge a person you yourself would like to be? Emerge a person people will like to be with? Above all emerge a person with whom God is well-pleased???