Slamdance 2019: Lost Holiday

Thomas Matthews and Kate Lyn Sheil in Lost Holiday.

Lost Holiday takes us to our nation’s capital as the independent film shows us why it is a solid candidate to join the Gone Girl cinematic universe.

There’s no place like home for the holidays.  In this instance, home just happens to be our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.  This is where Margaret (Kate Lyn Sheil) finds herself with her friend Henry (Thomas Matthews).  Henry is in graduate school while Margaret–who also goes by Maggie–teaches kids.  The two of them are at a holiday party along with old friend Sammer (Keith Poulson) but Margaret isn’t having an enjoyable time.  Nobody could blame her.  After all, her ex-boyfriend, Mark (William Jackson Harper), is now engaged to be married.  She processes this information in the worst possible way: looking for drugs.

The search for drugs takes them to Russian’s (Tone Tank) place.  Anyway, he brags of going to Brooklyn recently to film a movie upon learning they’re from New York.  This turns out to be a sex tape because these videos surprisingly lead to more fame and fortune.  With even more partying to come, Margaret and Henry find themselves watching the news at a bar.  This is where they learn of Bo Jones’ daughter, DC socialite Amber Jones’ (Ismenia Mendes), being kidnapped.  In their drunken nature, the two of them get this crazy idea that they know how to solve the case.  While this is best left to the cops, they do their best.  They’re clearly not cut out for the job!

On the cast front, both Sheil and Matthews display chemistry in their role.  William Jackson Harper may be best known for The Good Place but his role here is quite different from the familiar Chidi.  Emily Mortimer cameos as an NPR commentator whole The Wire‘s Isiah Whitlock Jr. cameos as Officer Matthews.

I want to say this about the script.  The injection of comedy into the script helps lighten up moments that are otherwise tense.  While the film does make some mentions of romance, this isn’t a romantic comedy by any means.  This is for the film’s benefit so there’s no will-they-or-won’t-they that comes in watching Lost Holiday.  While the film is set in the nation’s capital, it stays away from the typical tropes of DC-set films.

One can seemingly make the argument here that Lost Holiday is a perfect candidate in 2019 to join the Gone Girl cinematic universe.  I say this because it involves the disappearance of DC socialite Amber Jones.  We’ve seen studios bring us their takes but Lost Holiday becomes the first independent film of this nature.   These type of mystery thrillers are seemingly all the rage so it really comes as no surprise that the genre continues.

DIRECTORS/SCREENWRITERS:  Michael Kerry Matthews and Thomas Matthews
CAST:  Kate Lyn Sheil, Thomas Matthews, Keith Poulson, William Jackson Harper, Ismenia Mendes, Tone Tank, Joshua Leonard, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Lost Holiday screens during the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival in the Narrative Features program. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.