Paul Giamatti is stuck with babysitting duty in the newly released official trailer for Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers. This upcoming dramedy not only reunites Giamatti with filmmaker Payne after their successful collaboration on the 2004 Oscar-winning film Sideways but also marks the eighth feature by the two-time Academy Award-winning director. Set in the 1970s, the film centres around Paul Hunham (played by Giamatti), a grumpy teacher at a prestigious New England prep school. Circumstances compel him to stay on campus over the Christmas break, assuming the responsibility of looking after a small group of students, who have nowhere else to go.
He eventually forms an unlikely bond with one student—damaged, brainy troublemaker Angus Tully (newcomer Dominic Sessa)—and with the school’s head cook, Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who has just lost a son in Vietnam. The trailer for The Holdovers evokes a delightful sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of the trailers from the ’80s and ’90s, capturing that retro movie charm. It offers a glimpse into the film’s overarching plot, characters, and setting, all while teasing the captivating relationship between Hunham and Tully.
As the two-week winter break arrives, Hunham finds himself unexpectedly entrusted with the responsibility of babysitting a group of unfortunate individuals who have nowhere to spend their holiday. Fondly known as “The Holdovers,” these students become his unexpected companions during this festive season. The trailer captures a tense exchange between Hunham and Tully, where Hunham straightforwardly questions, “Do you think I want to be babysitting you?” The friction between them is palpable as the jaded teacher humorously remarks, “I was praying your mother would pick up the phone or your father would arrive in a helicopter or a flying saucer.”
“My father’s dead,” Tully responds, revealing a glimpse of his troubled home life. As Giamatti’s character becomes more aware of his charge’s struggles, Mary, the school’s head cook, urges him to approach the troubled teenager with greater compassion and sensitivity. “You don’t tell a boy that’s been left behind at Christmas that nobody wants him,” she says. “What’s wrong with you?”
Later, when Hunham reconnects with Tully, he attempts to build a connection by revealing his own past struggles of being considered a lost cause. “I find the world a bitter and complicated space, and it seems to feel the same about me,” he says. “I think you and I have this in common.”
Payne directs The Holdovers from a screenplay by David Hemingson, who also produces the film alongside Mark Johnson and Bill Block. Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra and Chris Stinson serve as executive producers.
Focus Features nabbed The Holdovers for a platform release that kicks off on October 27 in New York City and Los Angeles, followed by a wider release on November 10. Check out the trailer above.
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