“Do you think it gets better every time?” asks Paul Giamatti, eyes widening after he hears I have watched The Holdovers thrice now, speaking with him a week before the film is released in the UK, where I live. There were good reasons, though. Since the world premiere at the 50th Telluride Film Festival last summer, The Holdovers has enchanted film festival and broader audiences globally: it was runner-up for the TIFF People’s Choice Award, screened in the 28th Busan International Film Festival’s Icon section, and reduced the biggest screen at Picturehouse Central to sniffles during an early London Film Festival screening.
So I’ve watched it three times: once at LFF, then in early December to put up the Christmas tree, and then on Christmas Eve with the family. I’m far from the only one—at the time of writing, over 420,000 Letterboxd members have watched the film, a number that skyrockets daily. A few reasons for this, perhaps: The Holdovers is now officially nominated for two SAG awards, five Oscars and six BAFTAs; it saw stars Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph both win Golden Globes for their moving performances; and it’s nominated for more critics’ circle awards than there are days in the festive period. “Finally a 2024 Oscar nominee that makes me believe cinema isn’t dead,” writes Kasia.