THE HOLDOVERS – Review by Susan Granger

Set at Christmastime in 1970 at prestigious Barton Academy, a rural Massachusetts prep school, The Holdovers revolves around Paul ’Walleye’ Hunham (Paul Giamatti), the cynical, curmudgeonly classics instructor forced to supervise the unfortunate boys unable to return home for the two-week holiday break. When a rich kid’s dad arrives in his helicopter, he offers to take them all skiing – if their parents give permission. That leaves only arrogant, angry Angus Tully (newcomer Dominic Sessa) whose honeymooning mother and stepfather have abandoned him and cannot be reached. Screenwriter David Hemingson devises such distinctive, compelling backstories for each of these three lonely, sad souls that their traumatic misadventures turn out to be therapeutic, yet director Alexander Payne never succumbs to sentimentality.

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THE HOLDOVERS – Review by Diane Carson

Director Alexander Payne has demonstrated a rare skill in mining complex personalities, the façade presented to others as well as the hidden depths of that mask. In exploring identities, Payne reveals the agonizing elements, coping strategies, and positive aspects of his characters. Through all this, he maintains an affectionate, incisive approach to the human condition. The Holdovers is as profound as it is enjoyable, a world to embrace.

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THE HOLDOVERS (TIFF 2023) – Review by Emma Badame

Filmmaker Alexander Payne’s latest offering is not particularly original in any of its elements and doesn’t attempt to break any new ground, but as it transpires, that’s not at all a bad thing. Well-acted, lovingly directed, and sharply written by David Hemingson, The Holdovers is a warm, nostalgic hug of a film that harks back to a specific and beloved era of filmmaking. Payne sets the film in the early ‘70s to allow for a showcase of his vintage favorites. From the soundtrack to the color palette, he immerses his film in everything of the era and it truly works in the film’s favor.

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