“What we did on our holidays”

[Spoiler alert – this is really meant for people who’ve seen the film]

Official trailer line “Explores the meaning of life and suggests how best to live and love.” Fair enough.

A brilliantly made, written and acted comedy based on the Outnumbered idea of modern mad dysfunctional-but-ultimately-aren’t-we-all family. About how kids and the old have got it right (carpe diem, live adventurously) and the adults in the middle have either sold out to Mammon or are deluded by pressures of work and social expectation. So Billy Connolly and the kids on the beach are where it’s at, and Gavin’s stupid tense Four-Weddings faux-Scottish party are where it’s not.

The ending seemed all too quick and easy, until you realise that the whole film is a comedy, with all that implies: cut-out characters, artifice, and the need for a happy resolution. It ends very Greekly, with the oldest kid delivering the adults a deus-ex-machina lecture from above (μηχανη (the crane) = the staircase), whereupon all four of the useless adults realise what fools they’ve been and everything is sorted. The final funeral eulogies on the cliff falter, and swiftly descends/ascends into a traditional Aristophanic κωμος or revel.

Gordie’s death halfway though, as Sophocles’ Ajax, starts the important debate about what to do about it: the Gordian Knot.

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