Review Of The Award-Winning Christmas Movie
It’s been over a month since the holidays. We wanted to get back into the Christmas spirit with this “dramedy” directed by Alexander Payne (Downsizing, Nebraska, Election).
1970, in the remotest part of New England. Paul Hunham is a cranky and solitary history teacher at an all-boys prep school. This year, he is forced to stay on campus during Christmas to supervise some kids who have nowhere else to go. He soon forms an unlikely trio with Angus Tully, an intelligent but damaged troublemaker, and Mary Lamb, the school’s head cook in mourning for her son who died in the Vietnam War.
The Holdovers feels like a warm hug. It feels good to see these outcasts interact, collide, and help each other move forward. The three leads, Dominic Sessa, Paul Giamatti, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (these last two won a Golden Globe for their performance), play their roles to perfection. They embody familiar clichés —the nerdy, antisocial teacher, the rebellious, misunderstood teenager, and the somewhat bossy cafeteria cook— without ever becoming caricatures.
In this film, it all comes down to simplicity; uncomplicated words, and understated gestures. The actors don’t need to cry their eyes out or make long statements to evoke emotion in the viewer. There’s more chemistry and love in a glance, in a nod. The Holdovers is an effective comedy as well as an elegantly subtle drama.
CREDITS: Malena Cortizo A.