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Another Lockdown Watch: 'Holidate', a Review

By Arielle Neill

Halloweens over and that only means one thing: it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit. November may seem early but with another lockdown to endure, a festive movie binge might just be the perfect way to spend your time.

I haven’t always been a fan of Netflix specials as I usually find them cringey and predictable. Despite ‘Holidate’ living up to these expectations, as the film progressed I found myself enjoying it more and more. Although the film is quite slow to begin with, the fierce on-screen chemistry between the two main characters, played by Luke Bracey and Emma Roberts, builds throughout, leaving you pining for the two to get together. It certainly helps that Bracey is gorgeous.

This film has the classic friends-with-benefits-fall-in-love plot customary to most Rom-Coms. The future couple first meet at a supermarket and later agree to be each other’s‘holidate’- a no-strings-attached agreement where they accompany eachother as plus-ones to festive events. However, over time the pair begin to develop real feelings, creating complications as they both struggle to communicate what they truly feel. This film points out the imperfections of relationships and simultaneously brings everyone together at the end. It explores issues of infidelity, a lack of understanding and miscommunication between three different couples, before reaching a resolution and the typical ‘happy ending’ finale.

As a viewer, you’ll feel a mix of frustration and anticipation while watching the love story unfold. Unlike most classic Romance films, this is not a love at first sight scenario but rather a slow-burning Romance, providing the plot with a stamp of originality. Of course, every Rom-Com follows the typical structure where the couple begin to fall in love, encounter problems and eventually make up. However, in this movie, there are far more ups and downs, leaving viewers gripped to the screen, wondering whether the pair will ever get together. This ongoing tension is what makes the film so captivating to watch and perhaps makes it more relatable to modern life in a dating-pool ridden with games and miscommunication.

Romance is not the only theme that is explored in this film. The comedy expertise of the director, John Whitesell, also helps make ‘Holidate’ such an entertaining watch. For example, his exploration of pushy parents, a theme that almost everyone watching can relate to and a raucous and over-sexualised Aunt (slightly less relatable). These characters represent the outside pressures on a relationship and stress the rhetoric, common to Rom-Coms, that no one should want to be single. Although this is a highly-outdated view, I’m sure that most people can relate to family pressures in a similar way. The casting adds to the comedic value of the film, with Emma Roberts’ portrayal of a rebellious, angsty and fiercely independent woman baring resemblance to her role as Poppy Moore in ‘Wild Child’ and Casey Mathis in ‘We’re the Millers’. Roberts certainly knows how to play a highly-guarded yet loveable protagonist.

Overall, ’Holidate’ is a heart-warming, easy-watch. It is certainly not the best Christmas film I’ve ever seen and has nothing on the classics such as ‘The Holiday’ and ‘Love Actually’. However, if you’re looking for something light and entertaining to watch in Lockdown, this new Netflix release should tick all your boxes.

Image credit: IMDb