What We Did on Our Holiday Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The once close-knit MacLeod family, Doug (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike), is going through hard times – they decided to divorce, despite the fact that they have three children: a teenage girl Lottie (Emilia Jones) and two small five-year-olds – Jess (Harriet Turnbull) and Mickey (Bobby Solldridge).

But now they have to at least pretend to be a close-knit family, because the grandfather Gordy (Billy Connolly), Doug’s father, who lives in Scotland with the family of Doug’s older brother Gavin (Ben Miller), turns 75 years old. Gordy is very sick, he does not have long to live, so Doug and Abi decided not to upset grandfather with the news that they were getting a divorce.

With three children, the MacLeods have a hard time. Fourteen-year-old Lottie is very serious and demanding, besides she has a dangerous way of writing everything down in her notebook. The younger Jess is a rock collector and refuses to set off without Eric’s two-kilogram cobblestone and a hefty piece of cinder block named Norman. Young Mickey is fond of Norse mythology and all the related paraphernalia, which he must take on a trip, and the way from London to the possession of the MacLeods in Scotland is very long.

Well, when the family arrived at Grandpa Gordy’s house, it became clear that it was absolutely impossible to keep at least some family secrets a secret.


I was advised to watch this tragicomedy in the comments to the review of the series “Murder on the Beach / Broadchurch”, where David Tennant played. Well, with Tennant I am ready to watch anything: he is a very bright and interesting actor, so I found this film and watched it.

Why the United Statesn distributors in the United Statesn version gave this picture the name “Dream Vacation”, when here we are not talking about vacations, let alone dream vacations – as usual, we will leave it on their conscience, we do not intend to answer for this. The original title of the film is translated as “What we did on our holiday.”

I must say that I looked at this picture with pleasure. Not enthusiastic, but I didn’t regret at all that I looked. Very cool David Tennant: he here is more like his character in the chic series “The Production” (yes, in this series, David Tennant and Michael Sheen kind of played themselves, but, of course, these were still characters created by the author of the script for the series Simon Evans) is a somewhat confused and nervous person, forced to constantly try to smooth out all sorts of awkward situations. His Crowley in Good Omens was very different, but what’s cool about this is that Tennant is usually quite diverse (and we remember that this movie was made five years before Good Omens).

Unexpectedly, I really liked Rosamund Pike, who at first I didn’t like sharply in Jack Reacher, but then gradually something began to appear in her – both in Armageddec and in Gone Girl she looked much better, but here – that’s right very good: and the role corresponds to one hundred percent, and played great. With Tennant, they made a great duet, and I would not refuse to see this couple in another film. However, they didn’t act together anymore, except perhaps in the TV series Foyle’s War, but I didn’t watch it, and, judging by the casting, they are very minor characters there.

Billy Connolly played Grandpa Gordy, the patriarch of the MacLeod family. Gordy has terminal cancer. Despite the sadness of such a topic, here the character is written in a very interesting way, and Billy Connolly added touching and funny notes to him, while not putting pressure on pity. Grandpa Gordy knows that he is dying, he is already tired of dying, and this does not frighten him in any way, but on the contrary, he promises deliverance from suffering, and he perceives it all even with a certain humor. There’s a lot built on how the grandfather interacts with his grandchildren – how he talks in his room with Lottie, how he took the small fry to the beach where he plays with them – it’s played really well.

Well, I note that actor Bill Connolly, before filming, learned from the doctors that he had Parkinson’s disease and that he had prostate cancer, but he did not say anything about this to the film crew. At the same time, I am happy to say that Bill is still alive (six years have passed), so he is still successfully fighting his illness.

And of the actors, the MacLeod kids should also be noted – all three played wonderfully: this, of course, is the merit of both the young actors themselves and the directors, because it is extremely difficult to work with child actors, especially five years old. But then the stone collector Jess, played by Harriet Turnbull, that the Viking-obsessed Mickey, played by Bobby Solldridge, are very good, especially Jess! And Lottie is also a very bright and noticeable character.

There is a lot of good British humor in the film: how Doug and Abi bicker with each other and communicate with children, how Gordy communicates with his grandchildren, what purely Scottish grater-showdowns take place between Gavin and Doug (for Gavin, since Doug lives in London, it means that he is no longer Scottish, but damn English). Well, they did an excellent finale – neat, touching, somewhat sentimental, but at the same time they didn’t specifically press a tear, which I really don’t like. And here – everything is very balanced.

Good film. As the cat Bublik rightly said, it is completely optional for viewing, but, as I myself will say, desirable for viewing, because it is really very cute. Good actors, well staged, stunning views of the Highlands of Scotland (this is a separate pleasure), a clearly sustained style, nice musical accompaniment, and most importantly – a film that leaves a very good aftertaste. I looked at it and thought it was good, but from the series “look and forget”, and now, maybe even reconsider. That’s something this film catches, although it seems to be quite simple.

Dream Vacation / What We Did on Our Holiday movie meaning

Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin Cast: David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly, Ben Miller, Amelia Ballmore, Emilia Jones, Bobby Solldridge, Harriet Turnbull, Celia Imrie, Annette Crosby

Tragicomedy, UK, 2014, 95 min.

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