Starring: David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Running Time: 95 mins
What We Did On Our Holiday is a British film about a family who travel north to see their ailing grandfather, masking the fact that a major rift has grown between the husband and wife.
This is a nice little film. With a nice and generally down-to-earth quality, What We Did On Our Holiday is a very relatable and as such enjoyable watch. Its best qualities come from its lightweight elements, particularly the satire of the typical family dynamic and the actions of the young kids at the centre of the story, however that is often undone by excessive melodrama that goes beyond the film’s down-to-earth nature.
Let’s start on the bright side, with just how light and simple this film generally is. If you’ve ever seen the TV show Outnumbered, then you’ll know the sort of atmosphere. If not, however, then know that this is basically like watching the daily life of a very ordinary family, following them as they go to see their relatives on holiday, without any grand antics that many other films would do to turn it into an ‘exciting’ watch.
Now, there are moments where that story doesn’t quite work, and I’ll get into that in a second, however the general impression that this film gives is one of realism, and as such you’re able to really relate to the characters as if they’re your own family, something that very few movies are able to do in such strong fashion.
The performances throughout reinforce that atmosphere, with David Tennant and Rosamund Pike – both of whom are perfectly capable of very showy and flamboyant performances – are right down on earth with a very realistic turn as a struggling married couple. Above all, however, it’s the turns of the three young children that really impress, as they’re allowed to act in a very natural manner, as if they haven’t even been given a script to follow, giving them a very different air to the majority of child actors you see on the big screen.
All of that is what makes What We Did On Our Holiday a generally strong film, however it unfortunately doesn’t quite continue right the way through, something that proves for an unfortunately disappointing sticking point as the film goes on.
What is generally a very sweet and lightweight film is unfortunately interrupted by a series of melodramas that really take away from the film’s brilliant down-to-earth qualities. Tennant and Pike’s relationship troubles, while not something that can be shied away from, don’t feel all that powerful, and the various other dramas that the family encounter as they meet with their relatives just feel a little over-the-top, cheapening the film’s most relatable and realistic elements.
Overall, I liked What We Did On Our Holiday. For the most part, it’s a very sweet, easy-going and down-to-earth movie with some strong performances, but it does undo a lot of that good with a few melodramas that really take away from its best qualities, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.