What We Did on Our Holiday - Odin, ostriches and other family dysfunctions - 2.5 stars

"The truth is, every human being on this planet is ridiculous in their own way. So we shouldn't judge, we shouldn't fight, because in the end, none of it matters."
- Gordie McLeod

Overall rating: 2.50 stars
Cinematic rating: 3 stars
Family value: 2 stars
Walking into the cinema...
We were in the need of a laugh. Most of the films that have been released in the past few months have been dramatic or action. This looks like a bit of family fun. 

Plot Summary
Doug () and Abi () and their three children travel to the Scottish Highlands for Doug's father Gordie's () 75th birthday party. Beautiful scenery and the prospect of a family reunion should set this film up for a joyous occasion, but this is a film of family dysfunction. In the manner that only family can provide, this dark comedy attempts to find the humour in divorce, cancer and anxiety on the backdrop of the landscape of Scotland.

     Family drama/comedy is not new to cinema, family dysfunction has provided great comedic material throughout history. Directors  and  place this dysfunctional family in some of the most beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands and on the shores of the cold, clear waters of the North Atlantic ocean. Unlike the waters of the Atlantic, this film is tepid at best. Tennant and Pike seem miscast, even with their imminent divorce, there is no chemistry between the two lead characters. The only saving grace of their relationship are their offspring. The three children move this film beyond the ordinary to an appealing story. They are given the best lines in the film and they serve as the adhesive that holds the family together. Until the introduction of Gordie (Billy Connelly), they add the comedic timing that lift the clouds of this dark comedy. Gordie provides hope for the film, but he seems to be held back from exploring his role. Allowing Connelly to run on with his style of comedy would have added laughs that could have turned this film into an endearing comedy. Due to the serious themes, it is understandable that this was never meant to be a laugh-out-loud experience, but most of the comedic portions are awkward. The film had its positive moments and does provide some endearing family experiences, but for every positive moment there is a bizarre, negative counter balance that defuses any comedic momentum. Like the unexplained addition of ostriches in the Highlands, this story is left with too many loose ends to make it a satisfactory experience.
     The innocence of the children provide some of the best philosophical and theological components of the film. The dialogue between the children and their grandfather, Gordie, made for room for heartwarming and humorous moments that allow for deeper considerations. The film missed its mark in the realm of comedy, but opens the door to a multitude of deeper discussions.  Even with the best roles of the film being played by seniors and children, What We Did On Our Holiday, the language and adult themes of the film do not make this film suitable for children. 

Leaving the cinema...
The waters that surround the Scottish Highlands are beautiful, but with their calm and still manner, they look less than exciting. This film had the potential to be a wonderful family comedy, but like the waters of the Highlands, it felt like being left on a boat without any oars, bored with too much time to think. 

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. What happens after death? (John 11:25, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
2. What value does marriage have on our society? (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7,8)
3. Are all gods the same? (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews