The Holdovers (2023)


The Holdovers (2023) is an incredibly well-written film that takes you to the 1970s..


Language : English

Director : Alexander Payne

Writers : David Hemingson

Cast : Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Genre : Drama

Imdb: The Holdovers (2023)

Streaming in Theatres near you 

Spoiler Alert: This review contains very slight spoilers about the nature and theme of the film.

The Holdovers (2023) is an incredibly well-written film that takes you to the 1970s, and the mood is just amazing, and the soundtracks take you back to the days of Simon and Garfunkel playing in The Graduate (1967), that period. Just when you think the film is stretching its runtime, it brings you glorious moments that are well worth stretching the runtime.

Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, Da’Vine Joy Randolph all give award-winning performances. The rest of the cast also have done their job supremely well. Eigil Bryld and Alexander Payne have set up the camera in such a way that the film feels truly real, and the cast is living life on the screen. It feels truly natural, immersive and you get to feel every emotions-the highs and lows, and the whole experience is accentuated using great soundtracks that give you the mood of 1970s Christmas. 

Alexander Payne loathes the “Christmas film” label and hopes the movie will stand on its own, and not just be considered a Christmas film. I fully agree with Payne but, but, this is a perfect Christmas Movie. You get the full feeling watching it at Christmas, home alone or with your family. I am not spoiling any of the plot. The Plot is not something very new or complex, it’s actually a very simple and realistic plot that transforms into a magical movie and connects every single person in the world globally through their hearts. You could say there are plot similarities to The Dead Poet’s Society (1989) and The Breakfast Club (1985), but the real inspiration must have been Merlusse (1935). Credits to all those who worked on this beautiful and magical movie. This is easily one of the best-written movies I have watched recently.

I Highly recommend this. I had seen and thoroughly enjoyed Alexander Payne’s Sideways long back. Now I am obligated to watch the rest of the films of a true master. You have got a fan in me.

Verdict : 6/7 stars



  • On the day of shooting the scene Angus calls home, Dominic Sessa flubbed a take because he didn’t know how to dial, and had to be shown how. It hadn’t occurred to anyone that he had never used a rotary phone before.

  • Many of the scenes were filmed at Fairhaven High School in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in February 2022 during the schools February break. At this time, the area received a snow storm to the delight of the film crew since many of the scenes took place during a snowstorm. They took full advantage of the weather and the snow you see in the film was from an actual snowstorm.

  • The entire film was shot in real, practical locations. No sets or soundstages were used.

  • Even though the movie features a heavy film look reminiscent of the 1970s, it was entirely shot digitally on the ARRI Alexa Mini. All the hallmarks of celluloid film, like the film grain, halation, dirt, and gate weave, were added in post-production.

  • Paul Giamatti took credit for getting Dominic Sessa cast as Angus, claiming that he insisted on Alexander Payne giving him an audition after the latter expressed reluctance at Sessa’s lack of acting experience in his resume.

  • Focus Features bought worldwide rights for the film for $30 million after screening for buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022. It is the biggest sale to ever happen at the festival, despite it not being on the roster that year.

  • Alexander Payne conceived the concept after watching the film Merlusse. Instead of writing the screenplay himself, he reached out to David Hemingson, who wrote an unsold TV pilot about a New England boarding school, and asked if he would pen the script. Hemingson based his screenplay on his experiences as a student at Watkinson School, a boarding school in Hartford, as well as on his relationship with his uncle when he was a child.

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Rahul Rana

Rahul Rana is an Entrepreneur helping Businesses make RRATIONAL decisions in marketing. He is also the creative director of the project Bloodybrilliant which is both a personal project and a community project simultaneously. Aside from films and technology, Rahul loves football and gaming.

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