The Holdovers (2023) Ending Explained – Does Angus get kicked out of Barton Academy?

The Holdovers Plot Summary

It’s 1970 and Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) is a grumpy and strict history teacher at a remote prep school called Barton Academy. He is forced to stay on campus over the Christmas holidays with troubled student Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), who has nowhere to go, and a cook called Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) who is grieving the loss of her son. As the holidays go on, boredom kicks in and Angus begins acting out. However, Hunham starts to soften to him and they go on a ‘field trip’ to Boston to inject some fun into the proceedings. 

What happens in Boston?

Hunham and Angus enjoy the trip to Boston, taking in the sights and enjoying the break from Barton Academy. However, Angus tries to escape in a cab but is flagged down by Hunham. Turns out, Angus wants to go to see his father. He had previously told Hunham that his father was dead, so he agrees to go with him to the cemetery.

They arrive at a mental hospital and it’s revealed Angus’s father is not dead but rather he’s been sectioned. Angus visits his father, who seems like he doesn’t recognise him, and he tells him all about his life and his school, but his father seems more concerned that he’s being poisoned by the powers that be at the facility. 

What happens in the meeting with Woodrup and Angus’s parents? 

Paul Hunham returns for the New Year at Barton Academy but is quickly called into Dr. Hardy Woodrup’s office as Angus’s mother Judy and stepfather Stanley are here to make a complaint about the Boston trip, which saw Hunham take Angus to visit his father in the mental hospital. They reveal that Angus’s father has become unsettled and they’ll now need to move him from his current residence. 

They ask him if it was Angus who slipped out to see his father, but Hunham willingly takes the blame, saying it was all his idea to stop Angus from being thrown out of Barton Academy and enrolled into Military school. This then leads to him being fired. As he leaves, he tells Woodrup that he is ‘penis cancer in human form.’

Angus and Mary are waiting outside the office, and Hunham turns to Angus and simply says, ”It’s this one. This is the one you should look at” referring to his dodgy eye, and walks out as Angus is called into the office. 

How does The Holdovers end? 

Mary comes to visit Hunham as he’s packing all his stuff up and asks him where he’s going to go, but he’s not sure. Mary reveals she’s staying because she likes having a job and hands him an empty book to do his writing in. She reveals her sister’s baby is going to be named Curtis after her dead son. 

Hunham is getting ready to leave Barton Academy and Angus goes to say goodbye to him. He says he’s not being kicked out, but obviously Hunham got fired, so he deduces what that means. Hunham just says he told the truth… sort of. Angus suggests they go and get a burger and a beer but Hunham politely declines and commends his willingness to try to gain access to alcohol. 

Hunham says, ”Keep your head up, you can do this.” They shake hands and he leaves in his car. He takes a swig of a big bottle of whiskey, swishes it around in his mouth, spits it out on the entrance to Barton Academy, and drives off.


Read More: The Holdovers Movie Review

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