This fun family film is based on the same style as the popular BBC Sitcom ‘Outnumbered’ and written by the same writers as the show: Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins. What We Did On Our Holiday boasts an impressive cast including: David Tennant, Rosamund Pike and Billy Connelly to name a few.
Tired parents Doug and Abi, played by David Tennant and Rosamund Pike, respectively, are exhausted by the constant juggling of childcare and work. With the daunting 6 week summer holiday coming up and a Birthday party to attend in Scotland, they decide to make a holiday out of it. However, as expected, it doesn’t go as smoothly as intended. With the long car journey to Scotland already involving at least one near-death experience, it’s not surprising that the audience were worried about the rest of the characters.
The major premise of the film is that old Grampa Gordie, played by the fabulous Billy Connelly, is diagnosed with terminal cancer and so making the effort to see him for what he claims ‘will probably be [his] last birthday’ is a poignant, but thoughtful storyline. However, Gordie doesn’t know that Abi and Doug are going through a separation and are nearing a divorce. With that being said, the family has come on holiday with the need to portray a happy, connected family. Grampa Gordie finds it easier to connect with the three children and thus spends most of his time with them, instead of with his son Doug. We see a raw side of Billy Connelly as he is slowly coming to realise that he will not see his grandchildren grow up, and towards the end of the film he says something poignant that more or less tells the kids to never lose the innocence of honesty. It is a truly outstanding performance from Billy.
The kids weren’t given a script as such, they were given guidelines to go on and during the film the narrator of the story, their son says ‘I’m going to need a list of lies’ which is so blatantly what a child would say, so it is nice to see young talent being nurtured through improvisation and spontaneity – with true ‘Outnumbered’ charm.
The only negative thing I have to say about this movie is that despite the beauty of the highlands, it is not really shown in this movie, there are only a few mildly cinematic shots of Scotland, and with Uncle Gavin’s mansion, I expect their could have been some technically, amazing shots. The scenic beauty of the highlands could have been used at very least for a scene change or an artistic shot. Apart from that, this modest and classically British movie is what should be coming out of our, unfortunately declining, film industry.
This heart-warming yet at the same time, heart-wrenching film is full of laughter but not absent of tear jerkers either. It leaves the audience with the thoughts of how they treat their own family. It makes us appreciate what we have in our families with the realisation that childhood doesn’t last long before it is tainted by life experience and expectations. It makes us realise how fragile life is and the need to live it doing what makes us happy.