The Holiday and Unrealistic Expectations

My sister has told me a lot about what it’s like to be married. One of the main causes of contention comes from, in her own words, “unrealistic expectations”.

We have all these grandiose ideas of what love is like in our minds, and it’s not accurate at all. I think a lot of it comes from the culture around love. And that culture comes from the films we watch.

To prove my point, let me point out a few flaws in the film The Holiday

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I’m not dissing this film entirely; it’s probably my favorite romantic comedy ever (I don’t like many). That being said, it’s very unrealistic when it comes to love. Here’s why.

Miles’ taking Iris’s eyelash out of her eye would never happen in real life.

Be honest. If a girl you’ve just met mentions to you, “Oh, I think I got something in my eye.”

… is it even going to occur to you to ask if you can take it out?

And even if it does…are you going to ask?

Assume you did… what kind of human are you?

You know nothing about this girl. You don’t know if she’d be flattered or creeped out. Something personal like touching someone else’s face is not something you do on first meeting. Touching someone else’s face is an intimate move: one you do with a romantic partner. Or, even if it’s not that, it’s a comfortable move: one you reserve for siblings or close friends. It’s just awkward otherwise. You’re getting up into someone’s personal space.  Most people don’t like that. You can’t just assume they’ll appreciate it. But if someone is already attracted to you, it will make them even more in love with you. If you do it, it gives a sense of romance or at the very least familiarity. No wonder Iris falls in love. Again.


Graham being so interested in Amanda, even when he’s too drunk to remember much beyond his own name.

I’ve had very limited interactions with drunk people. But in my experience, they’re not as interested in your personal life as in the warm fuzzy feeling in their head. Even if this isn’t typical, Graham’s reaction to Amanda still feels unrealistic. He is completely interested in what she has to say and if I’m not mistaken, probably remembers it later on. He would be perfectly content to sit there and listen to her all night long. Pretty sure it doesn’t usually work like that.

Also: word to the wise, if a drunk guy kisses you… don’t kiss him back.

Just don’t.


Everything with Jasper.. just… ugh.

Lack of boundaries. Dragging on a love affair. Not letting someone go. Telling them sweet nothings when it’s not appropriate just to keep their heart pumping and keep them around. There’s so much wrong in this relationship.

To the movie’s credit, The Holiday points this out. Iris says how this relationship is a “twisted, toxic, thing between us” when she finally ends it all with him.

Don’t ever go out with a guy who tells you sweet things even when he’s flirting with other people.

This is a preference of mine, and I know not everyone agrees with it, but if you’re dating someone, that someone should not be flirting with someone else. They should be flirting with you. You two are in a relationship and committed to each other, at least while you two are together. Flirting implies interest and that you’re available. Neither of these is (or should be) true when you’re in a relationship with somebody.

So don’t fall for someone who flirts with every decent looking person who walks into the room. If they do it with you, they’ll do it with others when you’re in a relationship.

It can’t end well.


Meeting a new guy and falling in love with him is fate, not a rebound.

And he’s the perfect guy for you. No, you’re not just falling in love because he’s the first guy who came knocking on your door. Not because you opened up to him right away about personal matters, and therefore felt a connection to someone who you’re not actually close to. Despite the fact that you literally broke up with your boyfriend the day before, dating this new guy isn’t a rebound. Nope. It was meant to happen.

This is another form of “lack of boundaries” like I mentioned in the last section. It’s not appropriate to be so open to someone you’ve never met before, and it can easily awaken feelings of love that aren’t really real.

And it is a rebound.

Don’t tell yourself otherwise.


Change every single life plan so it can work out with the person you love.

How many times have you watched a film that ends with one of the love interests convincing the other to stay because they love them? It’s usually the guy to the girl, by the way.

At the end of the film, Amanda stays in England till New Years. Now, we know this provides the story with a happy ending… but think of what happens after that. Graham lives in England, Amanda in Los Angeles. One of them would have to quit their jobs, move to another country, and uproot all their ties with family and friends just for the love of their partner.
It’s not impossible. In fact, it does happen. But it’s not as easy or common as movies imply. And there’s a lot of pain involved to do it. 


Forgetting to mention something big like having a couple daughters is forgivable if he has a good defense.

Lying, or just avoiding the truth, is okay as long as you have a good explanation once the truth comes out. At least, that’s what The Holiday would have us believe. 

Graham has two daughters from a previous marriage and only tells Amanda this when she surprises him at his house and meets them. He explains that he’s widowed, and is a single, working parent.

Now, I love Graham. He’s probably my favorite character in this movie. But the problem here is he’s lying about something very major in his life. And this is after his drunken state is gotten over, so it’s not like he’s forgotten. Amanda and he have gone on several dates at this point. It makes no sense for him to not mention something like this. He has no excuse for why he hasn’t mentioned it before. And if someone did it in real life, it wouldn’t be so easy to forgive. After all, how would you know if you can trust someone when they lied about such a major part of their life?


The perfect guy is going to understand you better than you understand yourself, read your thoughts and say everything to fill your perfect little love dreams.

This is every romantic comedy’s message, whether you realize it or not. But it’s inaccurate.

Despite how awesome a guy is, how well he knows you, how much time he spends with you…

he cannot read your mind. Especially if it’s a new romantic relationship. He doesn’t know you that well.

And for better or worse… people are dense.

Women and men think differently. That’s a basic fact. In general, women can be very enigmatic, beat around the bush, and hope the guy can guess what we’re thinking because he knows us so well.

Of course, this can be a stereotype. Naturally.

I’m a pretty straightforward person, who likes to address conflict head-on. But even I can beat around the bush and try to get someone to realize something without me saying it.

Guess what? Guys don’t usually get it. They just don’t.

By the way, this can go both ways: Guys, if you beat around the bush, your girl isn’t going to know what to say. She can’t read your mind and what’s going on in you when you’re being enigmatic. Unless you want a relationship without any closeness and lots of assumptions, be honest and straightforward as often as you can.

This assumption of guys being able to figure us out better than we can ourselves is stupid on a number of levels. Who knows you better than you know yourself? No one is in your head, or life, your shoes. You only know where you’ve been your whole life and where you’re going. And maybe you don’t know yourself as well as you would like, and maybe you don’t understand yourself half as well as you need to… but you still know yourself better than anyone else.

Even your significant other.

They can see your faults and your virtues better than yourself at times, but you know yourself better.

No matter what.

So don’t assume he’s going to know your thoughts, especially if you don’t.

I think this picture of the “perfect guy” or “perfect girl” comes from movies. The simple fact is that it’s implied in every film we have: it’s not only possible to have the perfect person, but it’s to be expected. But this doesn’t make sense. And as much as I love The Holiday, I don’t think the circumstances in it would work out in real life. 

What do you think? Are these really so inaccurate to real life? I’ve never been in a relationship, but I have seen many people be in them. I’ve seen these things happen and it never ends well. But let me know your thoughts.

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