Queen Latifah movie review
Queen for 21 Days
"Last Holiday’s" palatable lesson on life’s priorities
By Sandy Feit
How would you spend your final days if you knew your life were about to end? That’s one of those uncomfortable check-your-priorities questions, like “What would you grab to save if your house were on fire?”
Last Holiday explores the issue in a delightful, albeit predictable, big-screen treatment. Queen Latifah stars as the endearing Georgia Byrd, who like many of us, has dreams that for one reason or another have been shelved. Georgia’s unfulfilled hopes of romance, travel, and gourmet cuisine remain in a loose-leaf binder labeled “possibilities,” and she is content to leave them there, or—more accurately—is hesitant to do anything more than fantasize about them.
A “fortuitous” accident jolts her out of inactivity when CAT-scan results disclose a life-threatening condition. Realizing it’s now or never, she empties the bank account and sets off for her fantasy destination in Europe. No longer worried about what others think, she is free to unlock the real Georgia and allows herself the luxury of adventure, extravagance, and honesty. In the process, her genuineness and zest for life impact everyone in her path.
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Click here to visit the Last Holiday website.
At the posh resort, Georgia meets up with an assortment of characters who personify either her dreams (Gerard Depardieu as the chef célèbre) or the detrimental qualities that derail us from true fulfillment (Timothy Hutton plays her company’s wretched CEO, who has no clue about healthy relationships and lives in fear that others are trying to swindle him).
Other personalities round out the allegorical message: the robotic hotel clerk, who till now never considered the possibility of dreaming, despite being surrounded by the supreme elegance Europe has to offer; the callous room attendant whose negative demeanor is finally broken by the discovery of the heroine’s situation and authenticity; the CEO’s young mistress, who foolishly gave up solid future prospects for the empty promise of lavish fun now; and the boy back home, whose love turns the most important of Georgia’s “possibilities” into reality.
Sure, the theme is not original, and the ending is pretty much what you would guess. But the message isn’t a bad reminder as we zoom through life majoring on the minors and often forgetting what truly matters. So, we can forgive the blatant moralizing of lines like, “Next time, we’ll do this differently. We’ll laugh more, love more; we just won’t be so afraid. Happy New Year!”
Last Holiday’s obviousness is also easy to pardon because it is packaged in very entertaining humor. The audience let loose with belly laughs on more than one occasion and showed its appreciation with enthusiastic applause as the final credits began to roll. Despite some language and innuendo, the film is a good one for families: Georgia attends church, converses with God, and expresses disapproval of crude speech. More than that, seeing the movie with your kids could provide a natural way to discuss the value of good relationships and pursuing healthy dreams. Besides, laughing together is, in itself, a great activity for parents and children.
And the film’s message certainly aligns with biblical principles. As Psalm 90:12 (NIV) says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”