Created by: Nancy Meyers
Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Written by: Nancy Meyers
Produced by: Nancy Meyers, Bruce A. Block
Other cast: Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell
Release date: November 28, 2006
Genre: Drama, Romance
Running time: 135 minutes
In London, Iris Simpkins writes a wedding column in a newspaper and nurtures an unrequited love for her colleague Jasper Bloom. Near Christmas, she is informed that Jasper is engaged to marry another colleague, and her life turns upside down. In Los Angeles, the movie-trailers maker Amanda Woods has just split with her unfaithful boyfriend Ethan and wants to forget him. Through a house exchange website, Amanda impulsively swaps her mansion for Iris' cottage in Surrey for the holidays. While in Surrey, Amanda meets Iris' brother and book editor Graham and they fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, Iris meets her new next door neighbor the ninety year old screenplay writer Arthur, who helps her retrieve her self-esteem, and the film composer Miles, with whom she falls in love.
This film was written specifically with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in mind.
Kate Winslet and Rufus Sewell had previously been in a real-life romance.
The website Amanda and Iris use to exchange houses is a real website, homeexchange.com.
The house used for Arthur Abbot’s (Eli Wallach’s) house belonged to actress Phyllis Diller at the time of shooting, and is located in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, California.
When Miles (Jack Black) is humming movie scores to Iris (Kate Winslet) in Blockbuster Video, he does Hans Zimmer’s score from Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Hans Zimmer did the score for this movie.
Iris’ (Kate Winslet’s) tiny cottage is contrasted to Amanda’s (Cameron Diaz’s) stunning house, but in reality, thanks to UK property prices, an unspoiled cottage like that in a good location could easily be worth a million pounds, not far off two million dollars. She’s far from slumming it, no matter how basic the kitchen.
The interior sets for Amanda’s house were built on a soundstage and cost approximately one million dollars, without exterior walls, a roof, plumbing, heating and electricity.
At one point, Arthur (Eli Wallach) claims that Cary Grant is from Surrey, and Iris (Kate Winslet) agrees. This is in fact a mistake, as Grant was from Bristol.
Within Hollywood, Writer and Director Nancy Meyers is known for doing a rather large number of re-takes for any given scene segment, and during the shooting for this movie, at the end of a large number of re-takes for one particular segment of the newspaper Christmas party scene, Kate Winslet aroused a good-natured laugh from everyone on-set when, after the end of what she felt was a particularly good take following another long series of takes, she dropped to her knees in front of a table, clasped her hands together on the tabletop, and began to pantomime a prayer for that to be the last take of the segment.
When Iris is watching a movie in Amanda’s house, the movie she is watching is His Girl Friday (1940).
A few months after the movie came out the popularity of “house swapping” was on the rise. So much so in fact that police in England had to issue a warning against swapping homes with strangers due to identity fraud and murders.
Miles comes to see Iris at Amanda’s house and she says she’s having a Hanukkah party. The four men who are at her table (Jack Black , Eli Wallach, Shelley Berman, and Bill Macy) are all Jews portraying Jews.
Several references to Ennio Morricone: The movie’s main theme starts with the same five chords as “Deborah’s theme” from Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Miles urges Iris to rent The Mission (1986) because of its score, and the main theme of Cinema Paradiso (1988) plays on Miles’ car stereo the first time he and Iris meet (he even tells her that it was composed by Ennio Morricone). Also, Eli Wallach starred in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), one of the most famous films for which Morricone composed.
Jude Law (Graham) has a real-life daughter named Iris. Graham’s sister’s (Kate Winslet’s) name is Iris.
When Arthur Abbot is out to dinner with Iris he asks why a beautiful girl like her is out to dinner with an “old cocker like him”. This from the Yiddish phrase “alter cocker” meaning “old man”.
When Miles (Jack Black) tells Iris (Kate Winslet) that Simon & Garfunkel composed an original score for The Graduate (1967), he is partially correct. Paul Simon wrote new songs for the film, many of which, like “Mrs. Robinson” and “At the Zoo”, were recorded on the Simon & Garfunkel album “Bookends”. But Mike Nichols, director of The Graduate (1967), didn’t use any of Simon’s new songs except the wordless “dee-dee-dee” chorus from “Mrs. Robinson”. Instead, he used mostly older Simon & Garfunkel songs like “The Sound of Silence” and “Scarborough Fair”.
Upon arriving at Amanda’s (Cameron Diaz’s) Los Angeles home, Iris (Kate Winslet’s) runs around excitedly and eventually finds a wall of DVD cases. She scans through them and selects one. Pulling it the shelf and opening it. She’s interrupted by Miles (Jack Black) at the gate. The movie she selected was Punch-Drunk Love (2002).
When Iris (Kate Winslet) is looking around Amanda’s home after her arrival, she stumbles upon a rather sizable collection of Sony Pictures’ films. One of the films in Amanda’s collection is Enigma. Kate Winslet co-starred in Enigma back in 2001.
Jude Law and Kate Winslet appeared in All the King’s Men (2006) and Contagion (2011).
Reportedly, the three members of British indie rock band The Wombats went to see this movie, expecting a rom-com in the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). They ended up hating the film so much, that they wrote the song “Kill the Director” about it, which contains lyrics like “If this is a rom-com, kill the director” and “This is no Bridget Jones!”
The car that Cameron Diaz drives in Surrey is a 2006 Mini-Cooper. Kate Winslet in Los Angeles drives a Lexus RX 400h. Jude Law drives a 2006 Range Rover.
Jasper (Rufus Sewell) asks Iris (Kate Winslet) if she wants to sneak away to Venice when she gets back to London. Sewell starred in Dangerous Beauty (1998), which was also set in Venice.
“I’ve found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said “Journeys end in lovers meeting.” What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said “love is blind”. Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas’, the worst Birthday’s, New Years Eve’s brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I’ve been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him! Heart pounding! Throat thickening! Absolutely can’t swallow! All the usual symptoms.”
“You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god’s sake! Arthur, I’ve been going to a therapist for three years, and she’s never explained anything to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.”
“I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn’t know you had inside you. And it doesn’t matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends… you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he’ll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new. And you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.”
“Shush. You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don’t want to lose me whilst you’re about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it’s over. This – This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I’m miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I’ve got a life to start living.”
“Because you’re hoping you’re wrong. And every time she does something that tells you she’s no good, you ignore it. And every time she comes through and suprises you, she wins you over, and you lose that argument with yourself, that she’s not for you.”
“You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake!”
“Jasper, we both know I need to fall out of love with you. Would be great if you would let me try.”