Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Holdovers is a classic comedy-drama indie

Director Alexander Payne cements himself as a modern great after Election, Sideways, and The Descendants. And then he returned in 2023 with a Dead Poet’s Society-like second showcase for the brilliant Paul Giamatti, with The Holdovers.

Much like Election, it’s a coming-of-age story, about kids that get left behind for the winter break at their boardings school and Giamatti’s disliked ancient-history teacher is left in charge of them. Da’Vine Joy Randolph is about the only other person left around on campus. She is the head of the cafeteria whose son attended the school and has recently died. The friendships those two and the kids, especially the one portrayed by Dominic Sessa, strike up over their couple of weeks together are unlikely, painful, and often hilarious. 

Randolph won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Not enough borderline-indie drama/comedies like this are made these days by Hollywood.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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