Stars: 4.5 / 5
Last Holiday is a 2006 American comedy film starring Queen Latifah and LL Cool J amongst the others. The movie is about a store assistant who spends all of her funds on a luxury holiday in Europe when she is diagnosed with a rare brain condition with only a few weeks to live. It is loosely based on the 1950 British film of the same name.
When I was vacationing in Virginia Beach with a few friends, we had dinner at the local Ynot Italian pizza place one of the days - which happens to be the day this post is being written for. One of our friends had order a certain dish with a few instructions. Although the waitress had mentioned that they normally don’t do it that way, she did say that she will tell the chef about it. To my friend's surprise, the chef had made it exactly how she wanted and more. She complimented the chef through the waitress. To all of our surprise, the chef walked to our table and spoke to our friend, made sure she was really happy. He was a very young chef and it was really nice of him to come out and speak with us. At that age he seems to have already grasped the ropes of an established chef.
The entire situation reminded me of the scene in this movie where Queen Latifah walks into the hotel's restaurant, where she realizes that Chef Didier - her favorite chef - was cooking that day and he doesn’t cook any dish twice. So she orders all of the dishes on the menu without any changes. Chef Didier gets so surprised and intrigued that he personally comes to meet her. Youtube doesn’t have the complete scene but this is a snippet of it.
I did mention to my friends about the scene and the movie and asked them to watch if they get a chance. For me this is THE GO TO movie whenever I feel down or a little sad or a little off beat that day. This movie brings out the hidden light in me, shakes up all of my depression and puts me in a sunny path.
Georgia Byrd (portrayed by Queen Latifah) is a humble employee in the cookware department at Kragen's Department Store in New Orleans. She is in love with Sean Williams (portrayed by LL Cool J) who works in the grills department. She maintains a journal called "Possibilities" in which she records her dreams and what she wanted to be if life gives her a chance. An accidental bump to the cabinet door puts her in front of a CAT scan that reveals that she has a very rare brain disease and that she has only a few weeks to live. Depressed to the core, when she realizes that she is all alone with nothing to call something or someone as hers, she quits her job, liquidates all her asserts and sets off on a dream vacation at the deluxe Grandhotel Pupp in the spa city of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.
There she meets Matthew Kragen - the owner of the store she worked prior to her last holiday - Senator Dillings - from her home state Louisiana - Kragen's mistress Miss Burns, a prominent congressman Stewart and famed Chef Didier. With her simplicity and will to enjoy the last few weeks of her life to the fullest she wins the hearts of not only the hotel staff but most of the dignitaries she meets. The rest of the story continues on how she changes the lives of those people she meets, how she takes on what life throws at her and lives to its full and eventually comes out with an upper hand.
The movie has its own flaws - one can guess how the movie ends in the beginning itself; the morals and message perhaps is not new either. However, It is a movie that I would recommend everyone to watch not just because of the actors or the characters, but for the fact that it will take way any gloominess that might have resided in your mind or heart at that moment - even if it is for a few hours. Yet, the movie leaves you always with a new perspective towards life.