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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Snowed In

The Holdovers on IMDb

Plot Overview

nativity scene

door wreathIn a kind of reverse nativity scene, there is no room in family festivities for elites: Teddy Kountze (Brady Hepner), Jason Smith (Michael Provost), and Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa) upper-class wealthy WASP students, so they must remain at Barton Academy during Christmas break along with Alex Ollerman (Ian Dolley) a younger Mormon student whose parents are on a mission in South America and Ye-Joon Park (Jim Kaplan) from South Korea too far away to go home to. These “philistines” will be supervised by grumpy old professor Paul Hunman (Paul Giamatti.) The head cook remaining is a negress—in 1970 they could be called that—Mary Lamb (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) and the black janitor Danny (Naheem Garcia.)

Merry Christmas

mischievous boy
w/slinggot answerpenguin on skisOne of their rich dads treats who­ever wants to a ski trip leaving behind only Angus a bright kid but a trouble­maker. His mother didn't want him on her delayed honey­moon with her new husband, or maybe she just didn't want him around. The professor's erst­while promising career had got derailed and now he has devoted him­self to small time academia, also realizing he doesn't have the body ladies like. The uppity cook took her job so her son could get an education there, but she couldn't afford college for him, so he was called up in the draft but was killed before he got out and could cash in on the GI Bill. She's still distraught. Only the janitor seems happy and content.


boy avoids draftChristmas dinnerKaboom!Under the weight of respon­si­bility given the Professor (“I find the world a bitter and complicated place”) and the attendant repercussions for failure (“And it seems to feel the same way about me”), the shadow of the draft should the soon-to-be military-age chump lose his student deferment, and the poverty & prejudice facing the blacks, they manage to enjoy a party given by adminis­trative assistant Lydia Crane (Carrie Preston,) a Christmas dinner cooked by Mary, and a school-sanctioned field trip led by the professor. The new year will bring trouble enough.


hand crank ice cream makerSerious conflict will arise between Angus & his (step-)folk(s) and between the professor & the head­master Dr. Hardy Woodrup (Andrew Garman) along the lines of, (Prov. 30:33) “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” The idea in the proverb is that a state of peace and conciliation can change to one of conflict just as a liquid (milk) can change to solid (butter) through constant agitation (churning.) Or hit a critical area (nose) and it bleeds. This principle is illustrated in the movie when stirring some brandy into a concoction of ice cream & cherries and then lighting it on fire changes the intoxicating liquid into an evaporated gas allowing an under­age boy to enjoy some cherries jubilee. And flipping a snow globe makes it snow.

In the first instance Prof. Hunman has been a continual irritation to students, faculty and staff over the years and he finally reaches their limit of toleration. In the second instance Angus on the field trip manipulates his way into seeing his insti­tutional­ized father Thomas Tully (Stephen Thorne) and violates one of their firm rules, which must be reported.

Production Values

secretary and boss” (2023) was directed by Alexander Payne. It was written by David Hemingson. It stars Paul Giamatti, Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa who gave excellent performances. Carrie Preston was good as an off duty breath of fresh air.

MPAA rated it R for language, some drug use and brief sexual material. It was nicely paced unveiling as it went along the personal histories of its pro­tag­onists. Theirs was a contemplative Christmas. Runtime is 2 hours 13 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

It starts with a gospel quotation and holds with the theme of Christmas without being overtly religious. The characters' individual stories arouse our sympathies coming from different directions. It would be a good movie to watch sitting by the fire.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.