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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

🏆 The Holdovers (2023) - Echoes of Joy: Finding Family in the Forgotten

Updated: Jan 30

Rating: ★★★1/2☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Released 10-27-2023

Watched 12-29-2023

Reviewed 01-01-2023

Watched on Peacock

"I find the world a bitter and complicated place. And it seems to feel the same way about me."

Title: "The Holdovers" (2023) - A Heartfelt, Slow-Burn Tale of Unexpected Bonds

"The Holdovers," set in the picturesque backdrop of a New England prep school during Christmas, is a poignant story that unfolds with the grace and pace of a winter's snowfall. The film's initial rhythm may test the patience of viewers, but those who stick around are rewarded with a heartwarming narrative in the final act.

At the heart of the story is a curmudgeonly instructor whose initial reluctance to connect is palpable. The film's premise - overseeing a group of students with nowhere else to go during the holidays - might sound cliché, but the execution is anything but. The instructor's evolving relationship with a particularly troubled yet brilliant student and the school's head cook, grieving the loss of her son in Vietnam, brings depth and richness to the narrative.

The movie's slow start might be its Achilles' heel, as it takes its time to establish the characters and their respective backgrounds. However, this deliberate pacing is also what allows the audience to fully immerse themselves in the emotional landscapes of the characters.

In the final 20-30 minutes, "The Holdovers" finds its stride, blossoming into a moving tale of mentorship and new beginnings. The performances are understated yet powerful, capturing the essence of finding unexpected connections and the beauty in second chances.

While it may not be a fast-paced, action-packed movie, "The Holdovers" is a testament to the power of storytelling that focuses on character development and emotional journeys. It's a film that might not grab you immediately, but by its conclusion, leaves you with a lasting impression and a gentle reminder of the impact of kindness and understanding in a world often too busy to notice.


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