The Holdovers, starring Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, is finally getting a wider theatrical release in India. The bittersweet comedy will be dropping in a few days.
Directed by Alexander Payne, The Holdovers is a heartwarming dramedy that also has an underlying subtext highlighting the dark side of Christmas. The film, starring Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa, premiered at the 50th Telluride Film Festival in August 2023, before releasing theatrically in the United States October 27, 2023, onward.
The film received pretty positive reviews and grossed over $31 million. The Holdovers currently enjoys two Golden Globes, five nominations at the Oscars 2024 , and seven nominations at BAFTA. After such positive initial acclaim, The Holdovers is making its way over to Indian theatres on February 16, 2024.
The film is an ode from the director to 1970s classic films. The elements of a grainy visual style, vintage title cards, and a rock-folk soundtrack of Cat Stevens and Labi Siffre, easily evoke the film’s setting in 1970s New England, amidst the Vietnam War and melancholy of the decade.
The Holdovers is set amidst the Christmas season but does not get lost in the nostalgia of it. Instead, it explores the anxieties and sadness surrounding it for many individuals. But the film maintains a balance in its feel-good factor and hard-hitting grief.
The trailer shows a vintage, oldie film with a refreshing relevance that resonates with the inherent melancholy and bitterness in all of us, irrespective of time and place. Paul Giamatti plays an authoritative pedagogue, who grades papers as strictly and bitterly as he intermingles with his students and several co-workers.
After losing out on a huge donor for the school, as his merciless grading failed the man’s son, resulting in a rescinded offer from Princeton, Paul gets stuck supervising the ‘holdovers’. Holdovers is a term used to refer to those students who have nowhere to go, or their parents cancel on them at the last minute, so they will have to spend Christmas break at school, stuck with a couple of supervisors.
He is assisted by Randolph, who essays the role of Mary, the head cook, who is personally grappling with the grief of losing her son to the Vietnam War. The student centering whom the chaos and fun adventures later ensue, is Angus, played by Dominic Sessa. The unlikely trio form a bond during the holidays and the too-bright season of Christmas for their world-weary eyes also becomes enjoyable in each other’s company in this bittersweet and reflective comedy.