Submitted by Julio M
Angus’ (Dominic Sessa) father is not dead, as he had insinuated earlier in the film, but, instead, committed to a mental institution. His mother and stepfather are informed, by the institution, of Angus having visited his father in Boston and demand an explanation from the school, when he was expected to be held over for the Holidays. Hunham (Paul Giamatti) is questioned about it and, when he assumes the responsibility for the trip in order to save Angus from trouble, he ends up being fired. In the end, Hunham leaves Barton, on good terms with Angus.
Goaded by Barton’s Head Chef and fellow staff member Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Hunham acquiesces and takes both her and Angus on a field trip to Boston; after leaving Mary in Roxbury, both guys carry on and establish a friendly bond over several activities they undertake in Boston. While there, Hunham comes across Cavanaugh (Kelly AuCoin), a former fellow Harvard classmate. From this awkward interaction, Hunham admits to Angus that the reason for which he resents students from privileged backgrounds was because one of them, back in Harvard, framed him for plagiarism and he had no other career choice but to return to Barton as a Classics’ teacher.
While they are at a movie theatre, Angus tries to sneak out; when Hunham catches him in the act, he reveals his father Thomas (Stephen Thorne) is not dead -as he claimed, a couple of days earlier-, but living in a mental institution after having had a breakdown. Hunham agrees to drive him there, to see Thomas, but Angus becomes upset and fearful of ending like that. Eventually, they both reacquaint with Mary and Danny (Naheem Garcia), to have their own New Year celebration in the school’s kitchen.
Unexpectedly, Angus’ mother and stepfather arrive in the school, at the same time everyone else returns from the break. We find out that Angus stealing a snowglobe from the party celebrated by Lydia Crane (Carrie Preston) set off a chain of events that led them to come to Barton: Angus used the globe to give it to Thomas as a Christmas present; emotional over this encounter, Angus begged staff members from the institution to let his father come home; upon their refusal, Thomas assaulted one of them with the globe; and, because of this, the institution contacted Angus’ household to complain about the aftermath of the visit.
Hunham is immediately inquired about these events, since he was the person placed directly in charge of any students left behind at Barton for the winter break. When it is made clear that Angus’ stepfather has the intention to pull the boy from Barton and send him, instead, to a military academy, and all required is for Angus to admit forcing Hunham to take this against-the-rules getaway, Hunham, having come to truly care for Angus and not wanting him to be uprooted from a place where he felt safe, assumes instead the responsibility of the idea for the trip. In consequence, Angus is cleared from the matter and allowed to stay, while Hunham is fired.
Before leaving, Hunham and Angus share a heartfelt goodbye and encourage each other to do and be good; then, as the film ends, we see Hunham pulling over to have a drink from a Cognac bottle he stole from the Headmaster’s office, only to spit it out in disgust and drive away.