The Holdovers

A handful of students at a New England prep school are forced to stay on campus for the Christmas Holiday break. Watched by their fearsome and much loathed Ancient History Instructor, Pual Hunham (Paul Giamatti), this veritable purgatory may be the undoing of them all. Each broken in their own way, an unlikely bond between the sharp witted Angus (Dominic Sessa), Mr. Hunham, and Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), the school’s head cook is formed as the holidays commence. Life’s lessons along the way, the healing has just begun. Written by David Hemingson and Directed by Alexander Payne, this meticulously well written film brings exquisite depth and feeling to its very flawed but wonderful characters; and, for leads Giamatti, Sessa, and Randolph the emotional smorgasbord that ensues is nothing short of endearing magic. Often witty but not guffawed humor permeates the entire film and almost begs a second viewing to fully digest the wisdom, edge, and tenderness carefully balanced throughout. As we race to the holidays and end of year this aptly timed release is the perfect vehicle for Payne to boldly re-assert his power as a director and step forward to punch his dance ticket to awards season. Running two hours and thirteen minutes, The Holdovers is rated R and not to be missed.