Tuesday, 28 October 2014

What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)


Following on from their success with Outnumbered (and Drop the Dead Donkey), writers/directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin now bring us What We Did on our Holiday; a suitably sad, funny and uplifting film that places the kids at the centre of all the events.

With an ailing father (Billy Connolly), David Tennant takes his family (including estranged wife Rosamund Pike) to Scotland to celebrate his Dad's 75th birthday. Both Tennant and Pike are solid as is Ben Miller - Tennant's brother. Billy Connolly plays Billy Connolly, but that's no bad thing, and as it happens there's probably no one else who could encapsulate this character better.

Of course it's really the kids who are the crucial part of the film, and as such are spot on. They are obviously the primary source of the LOLs early on, including the youngest who has stones and breeze blocks as friends; but as the story progresses, the kids are the driving force behind the unfolding drama. You always hear that you should never work with children or animals when making a movie; but whatever experience Hamilton and Jenkin have with working with kids on Outnumbered, pays off here. They manage to get spontaneous, funny, yet sometimes nuanced performances out of these children

There are some glorious shots of the West coast of Scotland, so much so that it could almost be a visit Scotland advert. The landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for this dysfunctional family's tragedy, as well as a world inhabited by lovely peripheral characters such as Celia Imrie and Annette Crosbie.

The movie is typical in terms of its tragedy, humour and general upliftyness, very much in the style of Waking Ned (1998), The Dish (2000) or The Angels’ Share. But that's no bad thing, and it's certainly that little bit different as the kids are the focus of the movie. But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.