Film review: The Holdovers




I am reporting from a Central London Press Screening. It is not often I say this so brace yourselves, that’s a ten out of ten from me and my new Christmas tradition. It’s such a shame this didn’t come out a few weeks back as it would have been a Christmas hit.

The Holdovers has overtones of Dead Poets Society, and The Breakfast Club and shot in a style that reminded me of The Graduate (we even get several Simon and Garfunkel-like songs accompanying quite a few scenes and a score to match). This is the story of a disliked history teacher, a dysfunctional teenager and a bereaved school cook having to spend Christmas together in their boarding school. It is quite simply cinematic gold.

David Hemingson’s script is as sharp as a pin and Alexander Payne directs with an incredible eye for detail. We are back in 1970 and the way the film is shot never left me in any doubt. This movie smashes the six laugh test, yet at the same time, is deeply moving and thought-provoking.

The performances are all top-notch. All three leads make their roles their own. The Golden Globes got it right and surely there will be more awards to come. If there’s any justice, there will be. For those who didn’t catch the Globes, Paul Giamatti won Best Actor in a Musical and Comedy and Da’Vine Joy Randolph won Best Supporting Actress.

I haven’t felt this way about any film since I saw Typist Artist Pirate King. For those in the know, it’s that good. An absolute must see and already a candidate for my list of the best of 2024. I know, I know, but boy films this year are going to have to be good to match this. Out on January 19th, get it in your diary now!

Main Photo Credit: George Morina via Pexels

Andy Godfrey

Andy Godfrey is a speaker with Outreach UK and has been in full-time Christian work for many years. He is a founding member of the Mark Kermode Appreciation Society and has a collection of nearly 3,000 movies. He’s also an ardent Bristol City fan.

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