There's a special bond between heartsick women. It may not be pretty, but it runs deep and spans continents. Though Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) live 6,000 miles apart and share little else in common—Iris is a neurotic wedding columnist who lives in a sleepy English village, Amanda is all control and California cool as a successful movie-trailer maker in L.A.—they make this connection almost instantly when they meet on a house-exchange vacation website.
Amanda's just kicked her cheating live-in boyfriend (Edward Burns) to the curb and, faced with the prospect of spending Christmas alone, starts Googling for ways to get away from it all. When she spots a picture of Iris's wondrously charming Rosehill Cottage nestled in the English countryside, she sends her a message. Iris has just watched her workplace ex, Jasper (Rufus Sewell), publicly announce his engagement. Considering this is a man she's still hopelessly in love with and who's been stringing her along ever since he cheated on her with "some girl" in circulation, she's ripe for a change of scenery herself.
Within the next day or so, Iris is giddily running from room to room in Amanda's expansive and sleekly appointed L.A. home, and Amanda is stocking up on wine and chocolates for a therapeutic Me Night in her cozy English home away from home. Though a main priority for both women seems to be hiding out from the world—especially from men—some friendly male locals happen into their hideaways and start to have the greatest healing effect.
Iris befriends her elderly neighbor, Arthur (Eli Wallach), whom she discovers used to be a famous Hollywood director. Their hours of conversation about love and film (some of the highlights of the ...