01.09.2023 / 18:51
‘The Holdovers’ Review: Alexander Payne And Paul Giamatti Make Movie Magic Again In Wry And Funny Comedy About Finding Family – Telluride Film Festival
Thank god for Alexander Payne. The filmmaker is, and always have been, a true humanist. A writer/director more interested in human beings, something that has always been the special effect of his movies. A two-time Oscar winning writer, his latest film, The Holdovers, which had its World Premiere Thursday at the Telluride Film Festival, is one of the rare movies in which he doesn’t also have a writing credit. David Hemingson did the screenplay, but the idea, an inspired one, came from Payne, a real film buff who was always intrigued by Marcel Pagnol’s 1935 French film Merlusse about a group of boarding school students stuck over the holidays with a much-despised teacher. The director thought it had the bones for a new story and developed with Hemingson. Still, set in 1970, it is Payne’s first period film after a celebrated career for movies like Sideways, The Descendants, and many others. He has made some contemporary classics, no doubt, but the warm humanity of a trio of people left alone at Christmas in a snowy boarding school, ranks right up there with his very best. It is funny, sad, witty, poignant, filled with snark and heart and great acting. It also manages to be a film set at the holidays that offers something truly new for the genre, and also delightfully not only evokes the period in which it is set, it also purposely looks like a movie made then.