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The Holdovers (2023)

The Holdovers (2023)




Paul Giamatti

Da'Vine Joy Randolph

Dominic Sessa


Directed by Alexander Payne


No pandering can be found in the plot, just a little slice of life glazed with the needed comedic tonic so that it goes down well when you sit through the amazing masterpiece of this comedic drama, The Holdovers. I enjoyed how the acting in this movie is so well done by the actors, that it draws you into their lives, and you wish you could reach into the screen and hug them.

The story is well written to make you feel you got the plot figured out as the movie develops, then it takes a turn. A helicopter arrives, and we are left with the three leads. The plot pulls you into the story of three different people, but then balances the plot to make sure you get enough fun and drama from their stories and their struggles. It did not wave Hollywood magic wand in the end where everyone gets the ending, we all wish. It ends and lets you decide how you think it is going to play out for each of the characters.

This movie’s key power is not just the story, but the acting is also magnificent, and Paul Giamatti is having the best time of his life being an actor, doing all the movies he wants and how he wants.

Set in the 70s, the movie is about the life of three people woven together in a private boarding school. Giamatti’s character Paul was a strict teacher and not liked by the students or teachers in the school. During the Christmas break, he was left to care for five students whose parents could not accommodate them during the holidays. With him to care for these students was Mary, the cafeteria manager, and a bereaved mother, whom Paul was fond of.

The three characters whose lives were wound up together were Paul, Mary, and Tully. Tully was told to stay back in school, because his mother wanted to go on honeymoon with her second husband.

Together the three found a way to bond over their differences, their different challenges, and unfortunate situations as they spent the Christmas and New Year break together.

The movie got five nominations in the 96th Academy Awards, and it was listed in the top ten movies of the year 2023 by the American Film Institute. You will enjoy this movie very much, and it will not give you the sense that you can guess how it will end from the way it starts. At the very end, after all the bonding, you can put two and two together what the characters will now do and what not, but the joy in the ride to getting to this point is worth the journey of seeing this movie.


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