Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Downsizing) once again shows his specialty: a look at human relationships, their imperfections, but also the special, tingling moments.
Paul is screwed. This history teacher acts as a holdover during the Christmas holidays: the teacher who has to stay at school during the holidays to look after the students who cannot go home. Paul has his hands full with Angus, a rebellious teenager who is told at the last minute by his mother and her new boyfriend that they will not be spending Christmas together. Paul and Angus hang out with Mary, the school cook, for whom it is the first Christmas without - the year is 1970 - her son who died in Vietnam.
The Holdovers is the first film from Alexander Payne (Sideways, Nebraska) set in the past. Not only is the recreation of the seventies sets fantastic, The Holdovers also technically looks like a film from that era, including characteristic zooms and image filters. Despite a good dose of black humor, this is Payne's warmest film. A Christmas classic in the making.