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‘The Holdovers’ - a Boston winter classic 


David Abe / THE GATEPOST

By Kristel Erguiza

Staff Writer 


Alexander Payne’s newest movie, “The Holdovers,” follows Dominic Sessa as boarding student Angus Tully, a convincing Paul Giamatti as Professor Paul Hunhan, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the school cafeteria manager. 


Payne has directed movies such as “Election” and “Downsizing.” Released on Oct. 23 with praise from critics and a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Holdovers” is another movie that tugs at your heartstrings the more you watch it. 


Stuck at his boarding school, Barton Academy, during winter break, Angus Tully had been wanting a break from his rude and demeaning classics teacher, Paul Hunhan, reeling to go on vacation with his mother and her new boyfriend. 


Not getting to leave campus because his mother couldn’t pick up the phone, hijinks ensue with Professor Hunhan and Mary, and many memorable and emotional moments between Angus and Paul. These three main characters have heartwarming moments together while traveling around Boston and staying at Barton, going to fellow Professor Lydia Crane’s (Carrie Preston) party.


Dominic Sessa’s breakout performance as the reluctant Angus gained such a soft spot in my heart. Especially as a student from Massachusetts, he really understood Boston in a way that not many actors do, having been in his school’s theater program at Deerfield Academy. 


Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s captivating and emotional performance as Mary Lamb, reeling from the death of her son Curtis, had me on the edge of my seat, with tears of sadness whenever she’d talk about him. Her comedic timing in this movie was insane, when making Angus laugh at Paul’s weird little habits. 


The cinematography and shots were very intriguing, with the color palette being very somber and sad. It really gave a nice depiction of winters here, and how annoying it might get to not be with family during the holidays. 


Going to AMC Theaters and sitting down with a bucket of popcorn, not knowing what I was getting into was actually the best thing in the whole world. This movie is akin to “Dead Poets Society,” but honestly, it’s so much better than that. 


Set in places where I’d always visit with my siblings, it painted such a beautiful portrait of Massachusetts. Having not as many people in the theater also helped, making the movie feel more special to me while I was sitting there munching on my popcorn.


One performance that felt special was Paul Giamatti’s as headstrong Professor Paul Hunham. The scene where he gives Mary and Angus a copy of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius made me laugh so hard. Considering it was my first Giamatti film, it made me want to watch more of his films.


Overall, If you’re looking for a heartwarming, sentimental movie to watch during the wintertime with your loved ones, “The Holdovers” is sure to make you feel the Christmas spirit that Boston brings. 


Rating: A

I’ll be reading my copy of “Meditations” every winter now!

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