The Holdovers

Reviewed by Vaughan Ames

I have a confession to make; when 'The Holdovers' was first suggested, I said "why do we want such a boring looking film"? Once nominated for 8 Oscars, winner of 1 - and the winner of 130 awards worldwide - I thought I might be wrong; watching it on Sunday I realised how wrong I had been!

Mr Hunham is a grouchy, bad-tempered teacher at a private school who is forced to look after the five 'holdovers' – the kids who cant go home for Christmas. Mary is the school cook who stays as she doesn't want to go home – her son was killed in Vietnam the previous year. He has no idea how to be nice to the boys – their Christmas is looking more like a stay in prison. After a few days, four of the kids 'escape' by helicopter (You will have to see it to see why!), leaving just Angus in his care. Angus hates the world just about as much as Mr Hunham…

It doesn't take long to realise this is going to be a 'feel-good' movie, with the humour and the script pointing in the obvious direction, but what a perfect feel-good movie it turns out to be!

Paul Giamatti plays Paul Hunham, Da'Vine Joy Randoph, Mary and Dominic Sessa, Angus. The acting of all three is superb; the facial expressions just say it all, whether Mary is going from happiness to sorrow and on the anger in 10 seconds, or Angus is getting one over on his teacher, they had most of the audience in the palm of their hands; no-one was surprised that Da'Vine Joy Randolf won the Oscar!