Director: Alexander Payne
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Carrie Preston, Brady Hepner, Jim Hepner, Ian Dolley
Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne are a winning actor/director pair with Sideways and now The Holdovers winning over audiences. The Holdovers was the opening night film at the Twin Cities Film Fest and was an instant crowd pleaser. Writer David Hemingson has set this during Christmas time in 1970, and Alexander Payne and his creative team have gone to extra lengths to make this appear like it was a movie set and released in 1970s with their choice of aspect ratios, the vintage studio logo, cinematography, and even the use of opening credits.
The snow is falling in a small Massachusetts town with Christmas break right around the corner for the students and staff at Barton Academy, a New England prep school where the boys are all under pressure academically. Paul Giamatti plays Paul Hunham, the gruff teacher who loves the job and hates the kids and is forced to stick around watching over the “holdover” students who don’t have anywhere to go during break. He’s the kind of teacher with Jim Beam in hand and refuses to grade based on legacy or charitable donations to the school. This break provides the life lesson he needs when he’s set looking after Angus Tully (Sessa) who is asked by his mom to stay back at school and not come home for Christmas. Both Paul and Angus don’t really get along, and as you’d expect, have more in common than they realize. The film also stars the great Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the head cook at Barton and is grieving over the loss of her son during the Vietnam War. It’s in limited release now and will be in wide release November 10
Here’s my review