Film Poster: The Holiday

The second film poster I thought I’d analyse was that of The Holiday (Meyers, 2006). The most important themes of this film to me are, again, that of romance and comedy. Also however, this is a Christmas film, and I was interested to see how this theme would impact upon the poster, being unsure how ‘Christmassy’ to make my own poster. The Holiday is a romantic comedy film, in which two women (one from the UK and one from the USA) swap homes for Christmas, and how they subsequently fall in love. This therefore means that the idea of Christmas sociability is common in the film, as it would be in my own, and I was interested to see the extent to which this affects the poster. Below is the poster for The Holiday:

Shot Types and Composition

Unlike One Day, this film poster has two main shots. They are both largely similar, and unlike One Day, both are close ups rather than a long shot. The close ups emphasise the expressions of the protagonists, which are important for expressing the genre to the audience. Clearly, these shots are the two most dominant features of this poster, so the genre comes across quickly and efficiently. Other than this, the shot types are very simplistic. For example, there is nothing distracting in the background, whilst there is a brighter, clearer foreground to focus audience attention.

The characters in the shots are compositioned based on gender and nationality. For example, the American woman is cross-sectioned with the British woman and vice versa with the males. The are also compositioned vertically, for example, the British characters occupy the left hand side and the American the right. This allows for audience attention to be spread evenly across the poster.

The contents of the topmost main shot also contains a slight reference to Christmas, in terms of the character’s scarves.

The character composition cross-section of this poster

Overall Composition

The main shots are placed in the topmost and bottom most thirds, allowing the middle third to be occupied by titles and such. The human eye is naturally drawn to the middle third anyway, however its isolation due to the shots emphasises it more. 

The main feature of the composition is that there is a strong equal focus on the four protagonists, and their relationships. This represented by the fact that the faces of the characters take up an equal amount of space on the poster and are by far the most dominant feature.

The background colour chosen is white. Usually used to represent innocence, in this case it more likely used to represent Christmas Admittedly, white is not the most ‘Christmassy’ colour, but it is more subtle. It also makes the black lettering of the title stand out more.

Titles and Fonts

Just like One Day, the font chosen for this poster is serif, similar to the font Georgia. Serif fonts are usually used for several reasons. For example, in formal letters. In this case, it is used in a similar fashion to One Day, in that it is used to represent the romance of the film. 

Again, the biggest title is obviously the title, for the same reason as One Day; the instant information that the audience needs to see is the title and the main messages that can be deciphered from the main shots.

The middle section, containing the titles

The second largest titles are the actor’s names. As well as being typical of film posters, again this acts as an incentive, even more so than One Day, given the extensive works of all four main actors. Interestingly, both females names (Diaz and Winslet) are presented before the males (Law and Black). This is because they are the protagonists, whereas Law and Black better fill the roles of the heroes.

The next largest title is the director’s name. This is interesting because in One Day, Scherfig’s name is only mentioned in the billing box. This shows that Meyers is perhaps better known. This further backed up with the ‘from the diretor of’ line, which mentions two films, emphasising her filmmaking career; audiences are more liekly to want to see a film from a well-known, more experienced director.

The release date is a slight anomalie. Not only is it a different colour than the rest of the titles, but it is not included in the middle section, where the rest of the titles are. This is for several reasons. Firstly, similarly to One Day, it draws the audience’s attention across the whole poster. Furthermore, the release date is simply ‘December’, implying that this is possibly a teaser poster; this would certainly explain it’s simplicity. The word ‘December’ also has the obvious connotation of Christmas.

The billing box and release date title have a different coloured font, to coincide with the above white theme

As far as letter colouirng is concerned, nothing daring has been tried. There is simple white on black for the main titles, whereas the billing box and release date are white overlaying one of the main shots. A lack of bright, overbearing colours implies that the target audience for the film is adults. This would certainly be true, given its theme.

Impact upon my production

I think the main idea I am hoping to take away from this poster is its focus upon the characters. Obviously the lives and interactions between the characters are pretty much the main feature of my production, and I want this to come across in my film poster. I will definitely consider making simply the faces and expressions of my characters the main focus of my poster.


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