Claire Hodgson recently wrote in the pages of Cosmopolitan about her favorite holiday movie, aptly titled "The Holiday," which she has seen at least eleven times. She breaks down the plot to prove that the flow of time makes no sense; specifically that the days the story unfolds over Christmas and New Year's Eve don't add up, and that the story itself exists in some warped "space time continuum." I add "warped" to that description because one can assume, after reading the article, that is what she meant to imply since the real world does indeed exist in a space-time continuum.
Except she made two critical mistakes in what she herself refers to as "hard-hitting investigative journalism."
The Christmas party does not take place when she says it does.
Iris’s office is closing for Christmas and she works at a broadsheet newspaper. We all know that the news never sleeps. So we can safely assume this must be the Friday before Christmas at the earliest, right? In 2006, the year The Holiday was released, this would have been Friday 22nd.
First, she makes an assumption based on a throwaway line in the opening scene of the film, in which we image the chief editor of The Telegraph, a London-based newspaper, is giving a speech to his staff at a Christmas party. Hodgson assumes that the party must take place on a Friday - specifically the Friday before Christmas.
Since the movie released in 2006, Hodgson surmises the story takes place in 2006 as well, and therefore the Christmas party must take place on Friday, December 22. Except... we don't know what year this story takes place. More importantly, we don't know what day the Christmas party is taking place, other than that it is some time before Christmas itself.
But what we do know, and what I am surprised Hodgson missed in her nearly two dozen viewings, is that when the two lead characters switch continents and homes for a two-week (ish) Christmas holiday vacation, we know exactly when that takes place.
The email message.
When Iris boards the plane to fly from London to Los Angeles, she receives an email message on her phone. It is dated Wednesday, December 18. This tells us two things:
The year of the story is not 2006.
The two week (ish) vacation begins on December 18, which would have it end just before New Years.
You see -- everything does add up after all.
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h/t: Cosmopolitan, The Holiday