The fantastic 2023 film “The Holdovers” is directed by Alexander Payne, who is renowned for his unique approach to telling stories that combine humor and drama. In contrast to his earlier films, Payne shows off his true fondness for the people in this one, along with a poignant story that connects with viewers. The movie, which takes place in the early 1970s, provides a rare look into the lives of the individuals while they are on winter break at the prep school in New England called Barton Academy. But a lot of viewers might be curious about whether “The Holdovers”‘ Barton Academy is a real boarding school or just a work of fiction. tvacute goes into the depth.
The Holdovers Movie Story
The early 1970s setting of the movie “The Holdovers” provides a nostalgic and fitting backdrop for the narrative. Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti), the main character, teaches history at Barton Academy and is therefore despised by both the faculty and the students. Overseeing the children who stay at the school during the Christmas break because they are unable to go home for various reasons is his responsibility.
But the story of the movie takes an intriguing turn when Hunham has to deal with Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), a particularly troublesome and rebellious student. The scenario is made more complex by Angus, who is mourning the death of his father. Their interactions and developing connections become a major story point as the movie goes on, providing a heartfelt and authentic examination of both their characters and the time period in which the movie is set.
Is the boarding school in “The Holdovers” a real place?
The boarding school depicted in “The Holdovers” is a fictional place created for the film. It’s a work that takes inspiration from five distinct schools to make a compelling new world. The Barton Academy depicted in the film was influenced by a number of schools in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, including Groton, Northfield Mount Herman, Deerfield, St. Mark’s, and Fairhaven High School.
Barton Academy is where the characters get together over winter break and provides the backdrop for the turmoil that is depicted in the movie. The film’s authentic atmosphere was enhanced by the utilization of actual school locations, which gave viewers the impression that they were in a real 1970s New England boarding school.
The film’s production designer, Ryan Warren Smith, explains the challenges they faced in creating the Barton Academy: “We wished we could find a school that had everything we would need for the time period, but that was just going to be impossible. So, we found the pieces that we thought would work together and that we thought would look believable to the audience.”
Given the difficulties in locating a single school with all the requirements for the historical period of the film, it made sense to construct a fictional school from a number of real locales. The entire viewing experience was enhanced by the filmmakers’ ability to create a Barton Academy that felt authentic and genuine to the time because of their inventive approach.
“The fictional Barton Academy of the movie is constructed from five different schools says Alexander Payne in response to a question concerning the creation of the school. He clarified that five different schools—Groton, Northfield Mount Herman, Deerfield, St. Mark’s, and Fairhaven High School in Fairhaven, Massachusetts—were combined to create the Barton Academy that was portrayed in the film.
Each of these schools included particular features, such as a cafeteria, gym, halls, outside space, and chapel, to help construct the imaginary academy. They were able to create a distinctive and realistic backdrop for the movie thanks to this creative process. In addition, Alexander Payne shared his vision for the picture, saying he wanted to make a modern picture that had the vibe of being shot in the 1970s while stressing authenticity and staying away from the ostentatious style that is frequently associated with period pieces. The idea was to give the impression that the movie was a low-budget production from the 1970s, with a bland and lived-in vibe.
“The Holdovers” transports viewers to a New England boarding school in the early 1970s while simultaneously providing a moving and realistic plot. It also stands out for its attention to detail and realism in settings. The film’s ability to convey a timeless story while capturing the spirit of the past is a credit to the filmmaking team’s talent and imagination. “The Holdovers” is an audience favorite that seamlessly combines comedy, drama, and real character development.
By filming on location at five real Massachusetts schools—Groton, Northfield Mount Hermon, Deerfield Academy, St. Mark’s School, and a public high school in Fairhaven—the filmmakers painstakingly created the fictitious Barton Academy. Every one of these schools made a unique contribution to the fictitious boarding school, enabling it to feel authentic and real. Therefore, even though Barton Academy is a fictional establishment for the film, it takes inspiration from real places.