"it's funny, witty, and ultimately a film about life and death captured in a particularly thoughtful way"
'Kids say the damnedest things' is a phrase that resonates in What We Did on Our Holiday, and is certainly the case throughout Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin's feature debut that follows a family on a road trip to Scotland as they celebrate the 75th birthday of the family’s patriarch.
Right from the start you can see shades of Outnumbered, and that is in no way a bad thing. Much like the popular BBC series we follow the trials and tribulations of an average family simply getting on with their lives. However, the added feature here is that they are harbouring a secret that the parentals -- Doug and Abi (David Tennant and Rosamund Pike, respectively) -- are going through a bitter divorce and the kids are instructed at the beginning of the film not to upset Granddad (Billy Connolly) with this truth. This leads to a hilarious back and forth between Tennant's Doug and the children, that, to be fair, lasts all of five minutes when they arrive in Scotland.
The kids -- Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge and Harriet Turnball (Lottie, Mickey, and Jess) -- are clearly the stars here. The eldest, Lottie, is very methodical and keeps a diary of all the lies she's told; Mickey has absolutely no filter; and Jess is just adorable: from having a pet rock and breeze block, this kid really gives Tennant a run for his money.
The performances in What We Did on Our Holiday are delightful, and it becomes clear that Doug, Abi, and the children aren't the only ones withholding secrets. One of the most hilarious reveals comes from Amelia Bullmore's Margaret, a moment I shan’t divulge, but you'll know it when you see it!
Connolly is his usual hilarious self. His interactions with the children are some of the most memorable in the film, as he tells it like it is, which leads to a lot of funny, heartfelt moments.
Connolly's Gordy says it best with the line, “People are ridiculous,” and the clear message here is to love each other despite the number of flaws we all have. No one’s perfect; we make mistakes. In short, I urge you to check out What We Did on Our Holiday, because it's funny, witty, and ultimately a film about life and death captured in a particularly thoughtful way.