‘The Holdovers’: A Refreshing Twist on Christmas Movies
• Alexander Payne’s eighth film, ‘The Holdovers,’ offers a unique perspective on the holiday season with its lived-in vintage aesthetic and focus on three main characters.
• Capturing the essence of classic cinema, the film draws inspiration from ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Harold and Maude’ in tone and presentation.
• Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph deliver outstanding, authentic, relatable performances.
• With a 96% Tomatometer rating, ‘The Holdovers’ has earned $6.4 million at the box office thanks to its accessibility and universal appeal.
• A charming slice-of-life piece that deserves recognition during awards season, ‘The Holdovers’ is perfect for those looking for something different this holiday season.
Not all holiday movies are filled with cheer and Christmas spirit. Director Alexander Payne’s eighth film, ‘The Holdovers,’ offers a unique perspective for those not interested in the traditional Christmas movie formula
Set at a fictional New England boy’s academy during winter break, the film follows the intertwining stories of three main characters: lonely teacher Paul Hunham, troubled student Angus Tully, and grieving cafeteria worker Mary Lamb. Together, they navigate the holiday season, trying to make the best of it and let go of past burdens.
While ‘The Holdovers’ revolves around Christmas, it’s not your typical holiday flick. Payne drew inspiration from the cinema of the 1970s, paying homage to films like ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Harold and Maude’ in tone and presentation. The movie captures the essence of vintage cinema with mono sound, intentional cue marks, and cozy film grain.
The film’s vintage aesthetic adds to its lived-in feel, making the characters and their ordinary struggles feel relatable and remarkable. In a refreshing departure from world-saving storylines, ‘The Holdovers focuses on authentic and relatable problems.
The performances in the film are outstanding. Paul Giamatti brings silent gravity and wit to his role as the classics teacher, while Dominic Sessa impresses with his portrayal of the reckless student balancing adolescence and melancholy. Da’Vine Joy Randolph delivers a powerful performance as Mary, capturing her numbness and grief.
Audiences have resonated with ‘The Holdovers’ due to its emotional depth and sincerity. While it doesn’t delve into melodrama, it embraces the joy the characters find on their journey. The film arrives at the perfect time, offering empathy for those going through tough times during the holiday season.
Currently ranked third on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the “100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time,” with a 96% Tomatometer rating, ‘The Holdovers’ has also earned $6.4 million at the box office. Its accessibility and universal appeal have contributed to its success.
‘The Holdovers’ is a charming slice-of-life piece that deserves recognition during awards season. So, if you’re looking for a different kind of Christmas movie, don’t miss the chance to experience this potentially future classic.