- Cameron Diaz is annoying and totally over-acts
- that whole "I haven't cried since I was 15" plot point is unnecessary
- Jude Law is really good looking with hair (even if Beth did call him Hugh Grant at one point)
- Kate Winslet is an everywoman goddess
- I need to make sure my children have English accents (Claire practiced saying "you look like my Barbie" at random moments throughout the evening)
- real relationships don't move that fast*
Of course, since it's me, I did jot down a few notes during the first 30 minutes or so of the movie on the whole England-as-understood-by-Hollywood thing. If you want the fantasy to stay alive... well, actually, I'm not ruining anything epic for you here, so read on!
- Rosehill Cottage, Iris' house in England, has a stovetop kettle. I have never met a British person who uses a stovetop kettle unless he/she has an American living in his/her house. Almost without exception, Brits use electric kettles. (Yes, this caused a slight row when Jon and I were putting together our registry; no one won in the end because we picked an electric kettle that was discontinued, so we didn't get one off the list at all.)
- English countryside roads are just as difficult to navigate as they look in the movie - many rural lanes don't have much room for passing and turning around is quite difficult.
- You absolutely need to wear layers (and possibly even hats, as Cameron Diaz does on her first night) to bed during the winter in old houses like Rosehill Cottage. And yes, a lit fire in every room is necessary.
- Similarly, you can count on running into low beams and doorframes in old houses. I've been visiting Jon's childhood home since 2008 and I can still guarantee that I'll hit my head at least once per trip. They just built for different specs a couple hundred years ago! (However, it turns out that Rosehill Cottage is a fake, built especially for the movie.)
- I have never taken a train out of London as luxurious or as empty as those that Iris and Graham travel on. Commuter trains are usually strewn with discarded newspapers and passengers are packed in like sardines.
- Gorgeous big old country houses that are open to the public are all over the English countryside and it's lovely to go for an afternoon to enjoy lunch and wander the grounds. (For what it's worth, the exterior where they filmed the one where Amanda and Graham have lunch is near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, a good 90 minute drive from the area in Surrey where many of the countryside scenes were filmed, but that's just me being contrary.) You can find out more about the filming locations here if you want!
Our snark aside, it was such a fun relaxed evening with wonderful company and free-flowing wine and, if I do say so myself, excellent food. I made this shepherd's pie topped with a generous sprinkling of sharp cheddar and we all ate entirely too many gingerbread cake cookies thanks to a recipe on TheKitchn. Despite the fact that we couldn't figure out how to connect my new Chromecast to my wifi network and so watched the movie on my laptop, it was a perfect little holiday gathering!
*Beth was horrified to discover that Jon and I said "I love you" after only three weeks of dating. It's a miracle we're married, really.