Queen Latifah made me cry. I wouldn’t normally admit that I teared up during a heartwarming, inspirational romantic comedy, but I’m willing to go on the record so that others might not pass up “Last Holiday, “a remake of the 1950 movie of the same name. In it, Queen Latifah plays Georgia Byrd, a demure, church-going New Orleans department store worker, who decides to travel to Europe and pursue her dreams of staying in a grand hotel and eating foods prepared by a world famous chef after being told she has only three weeks to live. Once in Europe, Georgia’s new-found passion for life leads to a comical case of mistaken identity and some truly hysterical scenes in the hotel spa.
While not exactly ground-breaking storytelling–and there’s a somewhat distracting political subplot–the laughs are plentiful, the scenery fantastic, and it’s great to see Timothy Hutton and Gerard Depardieu back on the big screen. As a general rule, I try to avoid anything that could be labeled “inspirational,” but Queen Latifah’s energy embodied the reinvigorated Georgia Byrd so perfectly that I couldn’t help but get caught up in the tale and get a bit verklempt at the appropriate moments. Georgia’s story speaks to everyone who has ever postponed chasing their dreams, and that’s probably a good 99% of the population.
When interviewing Queen Latifah about the film and her own spiritual journey, I admitted that, although my usually-stony media-maven self shies away from movies that are heartwarming, she replied,”Get your ‘heartwarm’ on, girl!” (You can read the interview here.) So to all of you looking for an enjoyable–and, yes, inspirational–film to watch this weekend, go and get your “heartwarm” on with “Last Holiday.”