There have been a number of new movies filmed in and around the SouthCoast over the past couple of years.  Production on some of these films has come to an end, and now it's time for audiences and film critics to check them out.

The Toronto International Film Festival had showings of two of those films recently. One of them, Finestkind, was not well received.  The biggest blow was dealt to Jenna Ortega when Roger Ebert's website said her New Bedford character was just not believable.

"Bluntly, Foster and Jones look like they existed in this world before the cameras went on — [Toby] Wallace and Ortega look like they’re playing dress-up."

It didn't get much better from there. Other critics also were less than impressed.

What about the other SouthCoast-made film that made its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival?  You might remember The Holdovers, starring Paul Giamatti, had scenes filmed at Fairhaven High School, the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford and other parts of the state.

A Fairhaven High School alum got the chance to be a part of the crew while the filming took place. She told us that Giamatti was nothing like his cranky character in the movie. In fact, she told us he was super nice.

Dare we ask how critics received The Holdovers?

We went back to Roger Ebert's website to find out.

Focus Features via YouTube
Focus Features via YouTube

Movie critic Brian Tallerico described some touching moments in The Holdovers, but quickly pivots by clarifying, "All of this doesn’t capture how consistently funny The Holdovers is from beginning to end."

Tallerico describes the emotional dynamic between the main characters. "Hollywood has a long history of stories of 'makeshift families that learn something,' but then why does The Holdovers feel so fresh? It’s probably because it’s been so long since one of these stories felt this true."

Bottom line from Tallerico? He loved the SouthCoast-made film. "The Holdovers is a consistently smart, funny movie about people who are easy to root for and like the ones we know. Its greatest accomplishment is not how easy it is to see yourself in Paul, Angus, or Mary. It’s that you will in all three."

Siddhant Adlakha from was also extremely complimentary, calling The Holdovers "a riotious coming-of-age comedy-drama" and an "instant classic."

Like Tallerico, Adlakha also marveled at how the movie develops its characters as it weaves in and out between comedy and drama. "It’s a film that slowly, carefully, and uproariously peels back the layers of its lead characters, yielding a meaningful drama and character-centric comedy (often in the same moments) in the process."

What About Paul Giamatti?

So, the script seems strong, but what about the stars of the movie, particularly Giamatti?

"Giamatti gives a mesmerizing performance, sketched through dialogue, thought and their constant struggle."

As with Tallerico, Adlakha agrees that the character development is outstanding.  "The more intimately the characters get to know each other, the more we grow to know them as well, inside out – not only in ways that flesh out their drama, but in ways that make their quips and jabs practically self-evident, in the way one knows exactly what a loved one might say in a given scenario."

"A career-defining performance" for Giamatti, gave it a 9 out of 10, ranking The Holdovers as "AMAZING."

We can't wait to see it as it gets released to theaters nationwide on Nov. 10.

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