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"The Holdovers" Film Getting Oscar Buzz

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New Bedford-Fairhaven filmed movie 'The Holdovers' gets early Oscar buzz by critics.
by Seth Chitwood   The Standard-Times

While the New Bedford-filmed movie “Finestkind” received negative reviews during its premiere in the Toronto Film Festival, the Paul Giammatti film “The Holdovers” - filmed at Fairhaven High School and the Wamsutta Club - has instead received glowing reviews.

“The Holdovers is proof that we need more thoughtful, studied, loving, and irresistible human stories on screen. It certainly helps, however, when Alexander Payne is at the helm,” wrote Barry Levitt from SlashFilm.com.

The New York Post said, “ It’s Alexander Payne’s [Director] finest work in years” while Collider.com called it “a wonderful revelation.”

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com said, “The Holdovers is a consistently smart, funny movie about people who are easy to root for and like the ones we know. Its greatest accomplishment is not how easy it is to see yourself in Paul, Angus, or Mary. It’s that you will in all three.”

As of September 21st, its 95% of RottenTomatoes.com with Variety predicting Giammatti will be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and Da'Vine Joy Randolph for Best Supporting Actress.

“The vibes are immaculate from the start and only grow more so as the characters gradually start to become as detailed as the world that ‘The Holdovers’ constructs around them,” said IndieWire.

According to a press release by Focus Features, the film is officially heading to theaters this fall, and will open in limited release on Nov. 10.

The film takes place in 1970, and tells the story of Paul Hunham (Giamatti), an unpopular teacher with no family to go to and nowhere else to spend the Christmas holiday. Thus, he stays at the school to supervise the students who are unable to go home.

Eventually, the only student left is 15-year-old Angus (Dominic Sessa), a student who has a tendency to land himself in trouble. Joining Paul and Angus is head cook Mary (Tony-nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph), a Black woman whose son was recently lost in Vietnam. Together, the three explore the New England area over the course of two very snowy weeks, according to a longer description on IMDb.com.

Filming took place at Fairhaven High School on Feb. 26, and at the Wamsutta Club at 427 County St. in New Bedford. The scenes took place in the dining room.

In the trailer, released on July 17, scenes featuring the Knipe Auditorium stage and a hallway in the Fairhaven High School and the dining room at the Wamsutta Club all appear in a few quick moments featuring Giammatti and actor Dominic Sessa.

“The Holdovers” also played at the Toronto International Film Festival where is landed a Best Film nomination. The Tracee Ellis Ross (“Blackish”) and Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”) film “American Fiction” took home the win.

Tim Grierson of Screen Daily, also said, “The Holdovers is crushingly wistful in precisely the way moviegoers have come to expect from Payne,” while the Hollywood Reporter also said, “It is an engaging and often touching comic drama that builds power as it moves toward its immensely satisfying conclusion.”

The film is set to be released on November 10, 2023.

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