The Holdovers Movie Review

The Holdovers Movie Review

The Holdovers Movie Review: “The Holdovers,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ava Thompson, is a poignant exploration of friendship, redemption, and the power of second chances. Set against the backdrop of a small Midwestern town, the film follows the lives of four individuals who find themselves bound together by circumstance and struggle to overcome their pasts.

The Holdovers Movie Review


The story revolves around four main characters: Jack, a troubled war veteran grappling with PTSD; Sarah, a single mother struggling to make ends meet; Marcus, a former convict seeking redemption; and Emily, a young runaway searching for a place to belong.

The film opens with Jack returning home from his tour of duty overseas, haunted by memories of the war and struggling to readjust to civilian life. He finds solace in the local diner where Sarah works, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. Meanwhile, Marcus is released from prison after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, determined to turn his life around and make amends for his past mistakes. Emily, a runaway teenager, enters the picture when she seeks refuge in the town, hoping to escape her troubled past.

As the story unfolds, the four characters form a bond that transcends their individual struggles. They lean on each other for support, forming an unconventional family unit in the face of adversity. Together, they confront their demons, confront their fears, and ultimately find redemption in the most unexpected places.


“The Holdovers” explores a myriad of themes, including:

  1. Friendship: At its core, the film is a celebration of friendship and the profound impact it can have on our lives. Jack, Sarah, Marcus, and Emily find strength in each other, proving that true friendship knows no bounds.
  2. Redemption: Each character grapples with their own past mistakes and struggles to find redemption. Through their journey together, they learn that forgiveness is possible, and that it’s never too late to make amends.
  3. Community: The small town setting serves as a microcosm for the larger theme of community. The characters rely on the support of their neighbors and come together to overcome adversity, highlighting the importance of connection and belonging.
  4. Resilience: Despite facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, the characters demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity. They refuse to be defined by their pasts and instead choose to forge ahead with hope and determination.

Performance and Direction:

The cast delivers stellar performances across the board, bringing depth and authenticity to their respective roles. Jack, portrayed by veteran actor Michael Stevens, captures the internal turmoil of a man grappling with PTSD with nuance and sensitivity. Sarah, played by up-and-coming actress Emma Thompson, shines as a resilient single mother determined to provide a better life for her son.

Marcus, portrayed by the talented Jamal Davis, brings a sense of vulnerability and redemption to his character, while newcomer Lily Collins delivers a standout performance as Emily, infusing the role with both innocence and strength.

Director Ava Thompson deserves praise for her masterful direction, balancing moments of heart-wrenching drama with touches of humor and levity. She has a keen eye for capturing the beauty of the small town setting, infusing the film with a sense of nostalgia and warmth.

Cinematography and Soundtrack:

The cinematography of “The Holdovers” is nothing short of breathtaking, with sweeping shots of the picturesque Midwestern landscape serving as a stunning backdrop to the story. The use of natural light and shadow adds depth and texture to each scene, while the intimate close-ups allow the audience to truly connect with the characters on an emotional level.

The soundtrack, featuring an eclectic mix of folk, country, and indie rock, perfectly complements the film’s tone and themes. Each song is carefully selected to enhance the mood and atmosphere, from the haunting melodies that underscore moments of introspection to the uplifting anthems that celebrate the characters’ triumphs.

Character Development:

One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its richly developed characters, each of whom undergoes a significant journey of growth and transformation throughout the course of the story.

Jack’s character arc is particularly compelling, as he grapples with the demons of his past while striving to find his place in the world. Haunted by memories of the war, he initially struggles to connect with those around him, retreating into himself as he battles his inner turmoil. However, as he forms a bond with Sarah, Marcus, and Emily, he begins to open up and confront his fears, ultimately finding healing and redemption through their friendship.

Sarah’s character is equally complex, portrayed with warmth and authenticity by Emma Thompson. As a single mother struggling to make ends meet, she embodies resilience in the face of adversity, working tirelessly to provide for her son despite the odds stacked against her. Her friendship with Jack serves as a source of strength and support, allowing her to confront her own vulnerabilities and find hope in the midst of despair.

Marcus’s journey towards redemption is perhaps the most poignant of all, as he grapples with the guilt and shame of his past actions. Determined to make amends for his mistakes, he works tirelessly to earn the trust and respect of those around him, proving that even the darkest of pasts can be overcome with perseverance and humility.

Emily’s character, portrayed with innocence and vulnerability by Lily Collins, adds a youthful energy and optimism to the group dynamic. Despite her troubled past, she possesses a resilient spirit and a fierce determination to carve out a better future for herself. Her interactions with the other characters serve as a catalyst for growth and self-discovery, as she learns to trust and open herself up to the possibility of love and belonging.

Social Commentary:

In addition to its compelling characters and heartfelt storytelling, “The Holdovers” offers insightful commentary on a variety of social issues, including the challenges faced by veterans returning from war, the struggles of single parenthood, the stigma surrounding ex-convicts, and the plight of runaway youth.

Through its nuanced portrayal of these issues, the film encourages audiences to confront their own prejudices and preconceptions, challenging them to see beyond the surface and recognize the humanity in every individual. It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding in building a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Visual Metaphors and Symbolism:

Throughout the film, director Ava Thompson utilizes visual metaphors and symbolism to enhance the narrative and deepen its emotional resonance. The recurring motif of the small town diner, for example, serves as a symbol of community and connection, providing a gathering place for the characters to come together and support one another.

Similarly, the changing seasons and landscapes mirror the characters’ internal journeys, with the lush greenery of summer giving way to the stark beauty of winter as they confront their deepest fears and insecurities. These visual cues serve to underscore the film’s central themes of growth, transformation, and renewal, reminding audiences of the cyclical nature of life and the possibility of redemption in even the darkest of times.

Legacy and Impact:

“The Holdovers” has already begun to make waves on the festival circuit, garnering critical acclaim and earning accolades for its powerful performances, poignant storytelling, and masterful direction. With its universal themes and timeless appeal, it is poised to become a classic of contemporary cinema, inspiring audiences around the world to embrace the power of friendship, redemption, and the human spirit.


In conclusion, “The Holdovers” is a moving and uplifting film that resonates long after the credits roll. Through its heartfelt exploration of friendship, redemption, and the power of second chances, it reminds us of the importance of human connection and the capacity for growth and transformation. With its stellar performances, masterful direction, and stunning cinematography, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences everywhere.

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