Some movie partnerships feel like they were made in heaven. And if their output isn’t prolific, no matter. It makes their collaborations even more special. Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti last worked together 20 years ago and the result was the much-loved Sideways, the film that carved out the director’s unique niche in modern cinema, as an acute observer of men facing personal crises.

Giamatti was a teacher, disappointed in life and with a liking for drink. In The Holdovers, he’s almost an older version of the same man – a pompous classical history teacher who’s hardly ever left the boarding school where he works. And he likes a drink or five. But Payne’s latest film is more than a Sideways partner piece. Here the teacher finds himself babysitting a clutch of students who have nowhere to go over Christmas and, when several of them grab the opportunity to spend the holidays elsewhere, he only has a smart but damaged student (Dominic Sessa) and the school’s cook (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), in mourning for her son, for company. Not that he enjoys being with other people …..

Like Jack Nicholson’s Schmidt and George Clooney in The Descendents, Hunham (Giamatti) is facing a crisis in late middle age. A lifetime spent within the academic walls of the boarding school has cut him off from the outside world and alienated him from people. But this time Payne also places the cook and the student at turning points in their lives. She’s full of sadness and anger as she tries to find her way through her grief at her son’s death in Vietnam, while he’s struggling to cope with the absence of his father and his mother’s recent re-marriage. None of them are equipped to deal with heartbreak, loneliness and crushing sorrow – but who is? Yet Payne, together with new screenwriter David Hemingson, gives the story his customary bittersweet tone, full of telling and pithy one-liners, sprinkled with an occasional tartness. Even better are the moments when they put dialogue to one side and let the camera home in on Giamatti’s expressions. They are small, cinematic gems.

Even the 1970s setting balances warmth with sadness. The Vietnam War casts a shadow over the entire film, from the tragic death of the cook’s son to lurking in the background on the TV or radio news. There’s just no getting away from it. The re-creation of the decade is beautifully done, from a predominantly brown colour palette to a soundtrack including Labi Siffre, Cat Stevens and Badfinger. For those that remember the era, it will envelope you in nostalgia, but never, ever sentiment.

As the film arrives in the UK, Giamatti’s performance is emerging as a serious rival to Cillian Murphy in the awards stakes. Whether he wins the Oscar or not, this is the performance of his career – the isolated teacher who’s given a brief taste of the outside world and decides he wants more, no matter how frightening it might be. Randolph is heartbreaking and inspiring as the grieving mother, while Sessa is impressive in his breakthrough role. In fact, all three are superb, as individuals and as a tight-knit ensemble. And, while it makes no sense that what is essentially a Christmas film arrives in this country in January, let’s celebrate that it’s here, it’s wonderful and that we have a new seasonal tradition to add to the list. This will be a Christmas classic for years to come.

★★★★1/2

In UK cinemas January 19th / Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa and Carrie Preston / Dir: Alexander Payne / Universal Pictures / 15 








Source link

By fcjyy

PUBG MOBILE MOD Achieve ultimat BIGO LIVE Free Who app free co FREE TIKTOK COI Free PSN Gift C restaurant gift Fire Kirin Free Bingo Blitz fre FREE Instagram It is important PUBG MOBILE MOD COIN MASTER HAC Bigo Live Free Free Diamonds F It is important It is important FIRE KIRIN FREE FREE MONOPOLY G PIN ON ONLYFANS SOLVED 5 FREE R FREE TIKTOK COI GET YOUR $750 S bigo live free GET 500 TO YOUR 13 Ways to Get 12 Easy Ways To How To Get Tikt minecraft free New.updated She 8 BALL POOL REW ONLYFANS PREMIU How To get diam Having a Hard t How To Get Tikt 8 Ball Pool Gen However, I can Bingo Blitz Bon This Amazon Gif However, I can Real Bingo Blit razer gold card It is important How to Get Earn How To Get CASH (New-Method) Am However, I can 2024 MAIBBYY ON Earn FREE Credi How do I get a COIN MASTER FRE Experience the Free Instagram Free Imvu Credi Who Mod APK (Pr How To Get Free Best Websites t new-fire-kirin- 8 Ball Pool Gen Free Fire Diamo Free Playstatio COIN MASTER HAC (Free) Fire Kir Updated Bigo Li Free Codes for ONLYFANS CREATE HOW TO GET FREE PUBG FREE UC 10 Who App Free Co 100% WORKING**P HOW TO GET PUBG New.updated She COIN MASTER ALL However, I can However, I can It is important Bingo Blitz +5 FREE ONLYFANS A who live chat c bigo live free Become the maes 90% OFF - FREE Bingo Blitz fre Shein Free Unli Earn FREE Credi Fire Kirin APK Get Free Instag BIGO LIVE unlim Master the art Bigo Live Diamo Latest Monopoly FREE Fire Hack how to get free MONOPOLY GO FRE COIN MASTER FRE TikTok Coins Ho Monopoly GO fre 8 Ball Pool Hac PDF EARN FREE P google gift car INSTAGRAM FOLLO GET FREE AMAZON FREE PAYPAL MON free minecraft How to get FREE Get Diamonds Fo How to get Free Monopoly Go Fre PUBG FREE BP AN Enhance your ga