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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie literally had the theater laughing and crying throughout the whole movie. There is a serious story line, yet Krasinksi is able to uplift the tone of the movie. There are numerous types of comedy for everyone to enjoy! I have never shed more than a tear during a film, but I found myself crying and sniffling throughout this whole movie. When I wasn't busy crying, I was laughing. The actors did a phenomenal job portraying their characters! So Kudos to everyone involved in the process of making this film. I would definitely recommend to others (although beware there is a very small amount of cussing involved with the dialogue.)
John Krasinski's feature directorial debut, #TheHollars is one of this
year's must-see films, it's the most honest and hilarious dysfunctional
family comedy I've seen in recent years. Perfect ensemble cast,
especially the great Margo Martindale whose performance has Oscar
written all over it.
Krasinski plays a struggling NYC artist named John Hollar who hates his job and has a rich and caring pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick). John returns to his small mid-America hometown upon hearing the news of his mother's (Margo Martingale) illness. But coming back isn't easy because it brings up not only old pains between family members but also high school rivalry and other anxieties. Co-starring Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Groan and Randall Park.
I think it all stems from Jim Strouse's script that gives us a look at a family that is reflective of the ones we the audiences have. The story just flows naturally becomes I think it comes from a very real and truthful place. You don't have to have grown up in small town U.S.A. and you can still relate to the banter, the anger, the argument, the jealousy, and the heartbreak. The comedy in "The Hollars" is so ferocious so whenever the drama does kick in, you feel it all the much stronger. All the actors involved did a phenomenal job of having an emotional impact on you, especially Margo Martindale whom I've always considered to be a national treasure, in "The Hollars," she gets to unleash her fullest potential, it's as if everything she ever did her career over the years had led her up to this defining moment, what a remarkable actress. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll find hope in "The Hollars." -- Rama's Screen --
"The Hollars" (2016 release; 90 min.) brings the story of the Hollar
family. As the movie opens, Sally (the matriarch so to speak) is found
laying on the bathroom floor, and we soon learn that she has a
potentially life-threatening brain tumor ("the size of a softball").
Meanwhile, we also get to know her husband Don, whose heating and
plumbing business is *this* short of bankruptcy, oldest son Ron, who is
so down on his luck that he is living in the basement of his parents'
house, and younger son John, a wanna-be graphic novelist bored out of
his mind at his current customer service job, and his highly pregnant
girlfriend Becca. At this point we're 10 min. into the movie but to
tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to
see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the second film directed by actor John Krazinski (who also plays the role of the younger son John). In this movie, he examines a dysfunctional (and that is a kind reference) family, in which pretty much everyone is unhappy, or unlucky, or both, as to the state of affairs in their respective lives. The movie is billed as a 'comedy-drama' and I'd say that is pretty accurate, with the funniest bits coming up in the first half of the movie (with the best of those featured prominently in the movie's trailer, which I had seen beforehand). The second part of the movie is far more introspective, and for me the better part of the movie. When John asks his mom how she managed to get through 38 years of marriage, Sally responds "Don't waste time with the bad, live with the good. I've had a good marriage for 38 years." The movie is helped tremendously by some wonderful acting performances, starting first and foremost with Margo Martindale as Sally, bur Richard Jenkins as her husband Don is equally great. Anna Kendrick as John's highly pregnant girlfriend has a surprisingly large role 9and she is super-charming in it), whereas Mary Elizabeth Winstead as John's ex-girlfriend has maybe 5 min. of screen time in total. Check out also Josh Groban (yes, the singer) in a charming role as Reverend Dan. Last but not least, there is a terrific soundtrack from singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. Bottom line: the movie has received a mixed reaction from critics and the public at large. Perhaps because of that, my expectations were low, going into this. Instead, I found myself fully charmed by and invested in these characters, and I was sorry to let go of them when the movie was over.
"The Hollars" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it finally made its way to my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this past weekend. The Monday evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay (given it was a Monday). No, this film doesn't cover any new ground as such, but if you like small-scale indie movies with a big heart, you;ll want to give this one a chance, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "The Hollars" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
"The Hollars" is one of those movies that has a mixture of laughs, drama, and sorrow and sadness still it entertains with love and memories showing that life always is a change with the new. John(John Krasinski)is a man who returns to his small Ohio town to visit his dying mother Sally Hollar(the wonderful Margo Martindale)who's very ill with a terminal case of brain cancer. By her side is her loving husband of many years Don(Richard Jenkins)and it's a tailspin for John he's got a lot on his plate including a pregnant wife in Rebecca(Anna Kendrick)and he meets an old flame of his while in town and she's still interested even though married too, and John doesn't want to move back! Clearly this film is clearly a test of love and fate it shows that with time life and fate changes it's all about new starts despite the sorrow and loss of a loved one still memories of love will always be present. Overall "The Hollars" is one touching emotional drama of love and change it's one film to sure see.
Films with families coming together where one sibling his been absent
for years that has in turn led to rivalry and jealously are not exactly
new ground but in 'The Hollars' it never feels overly familiar thanks
largely to the golden rule of film making, that a good script is King.
The movie directing debut of John Krasinski, who also acts see's him
play John Hollar, a struggling insecure graphic novelist, with a
pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) living in New York. Upstate his
father (Jenkins, brilliant as always) is running a failing family
business, while his brother (Sharlto Copley) Ron, has just been fired
by the Dad for warning him they're days away from bankruptcy. Ron has
his own problems, going through a divorce from his wife and missing his
two daughters, resulting in some what dysfunctional behaviour. It is in
this setting that the patriarchal mother of the household (Margo
Martindale, so natural & so brilliant she makes acting looks
effortless) discovers she has a brain tumour, forcing the brothers
together and the father to re- evaluate himself and the mistakes he may
have made before its too late. A subplot involves John meeting his old
flame who has now married high school friend turned hospital nurse
(Charlie Day) who in turn is a bit of a dick. Will John resolve his own
issues and see what is right in front of him, how will the father cope
with his impending loss and can Ron find a peaceful solution to his
messy divorce & cope with his wife's new love in the form of the
affable local Priest (Nicely underplayed by Josh Groban) - Such are the
dilemmas facing this familiar feeling family.
How dramas of this type work often depend on how engaging the characters are and connecting with them at an early stage. Krasinski cleverly never makes you like anyone in-particular too much or too little, tugging at the heart strings just right. Krasinski assembled a top notch group of actors here who clearly know their craft. This could have been a play on stage, but has enough drama to work well on screen. Copley plays a role very different from previous performances and handles the American accent with ease, while Kendrick proves she can handle a more demanding role outside of the Twilight Saga spectrum. Some characters feel a little underwritten, Ashley Dyke does well to make you notice her in a part with little characterisation, but essentially this is a film about The Hollars (Hence the title) and they are rightly the focus of the piece.
I have no doubt that Margo Martindale will be criminally under looked when it comes to award season for her role of the mother. One of those actresses who I have seen hundreds of times, has assured I will always know her name after this performance. The film may not break much new ground, but it is certainly among the best within its genre and fortunately, it wasn't set during Thanksgiving with a scene involving a turkey. Recommended.
I'm not saying this is the best film of the year, because there are
plenty of better films than this, but in some way this film wins our
heart. First of all I did not know John Krasinski directs films. In
fact, this is his second feature film, the only one I have seen and I
loved it. The main reason to I enjoy it was, it is sentimental. Not
just some foolish melodrama, but an uplifting film filled with lots of
The cast was at its best. I liked everyone and their unique display. At some point it feels like a realistic drama, but those comedies make us realise that it's only a film. Margo Martindale was really awesome. I have never seen her in such a wonderful role. Most importantly in an important role like this one. If I remember this film in the future, that's only for her. The only negative about the film was the twist. It was like they aimed for it to bring change in pace and atmosphere, when the situation in the story was not in its favour. Even though I did not care it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is the story of the Hollar family who reunite when they needed for each other. When John comes to know his mother got ill, he immediately flies back home. His brother is already there and the father is financially struggling. With many struggles, they all prepare for the medical procedure. In the meantime, there are some outside adventures. Like meeting their old friends, places, ex-wife et cetera. The remaining of the film is to reveal how it all goes and where they will stand.
The target audience is mainly the families. If you like a tearjerker, you would enjoy watching it as well. So in my opinion, this film is under-rated and under-noticed. Mainly because of the cast is not so popular and so the lack of promotion. Even the film poster is not that impressive. Kind of looks like a B movie and of course it is, but an awesome B movie. Worth a watch for many reasons and you will know it when you give it a try. So, recommended.
There can never be enough films of the nature of THE HOLLARS to keep us
all sane in the midst of world chaos and cinematic apocalyptic
explosions and car chases and burning buildings. Jim Strouse has
written a comedy drama about the importance of family and John
Krasinski directs a stellar cast in this warm fuzzy hilarious and
ultimate deeply moving film.
The setting is a small town in middle America Ohio where we meet the Hollars a family consisting of a father, Don (Richard Jenkins) whose business is on the verge of bankruptcy, son Ron (Sharlto Copley) who is jobless and pines for his ex-wife Stacey (Ashley Dyke) and their children (Ron divorced them and regrets it and stalks them), Stacey's new husband Reverend Dan (Josh Groban), a school chum Jason (Charlie Day) who married the left behind sweetheart of John (John Krasinski) a NYC artist of graphic novels who has left his live-in pregnant girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) to visit his ill mother Sally (Margo Martindale). Old secrets arise, communications falter, and the family nearly implodes when it is discovered that Sally has a brain tumor. Rebecca comes to the Hollar home to be supportive and encounters a dysfunctional family that is both frustrating and entirely lovable and the manner in which each of these disparate characters comes together is the beauty of the film.
Simple story, very well written, acted by a first class ensemble of characters (Margo Martindale shines!) and directed with sensitivity and it all works well. Try leaving the film with a dry eye 'it's okay.'
Where has Margo Martindale, playing the Hollars' family matriarch,
Sally, been since I was impressed with her in Million Dollar Baby?
Apparently she has been busy between TV and films, frequently playing a
warm, down-to-earth middle-aged lady who is not sexy enough to be the
lead but earthy enough to center a film. When she exclaims in The
Hollars before surgery that her hairless head makes her look like Rod
Steiger, we are witnessing the work of a consummate reality actress.
So she does in The Hollars, a comedy drama with a smidge of romance. The three elements are not strong in each case, and without her gravity the entire film could be nothing more than entertaining, a TV sitcom displaced to the big screen. The setups, such as the feckless sons, weeping father, and man-eating daughters in law, are too lightly handled, lacking depth.
Actor-director John Krasinski, a TV transplant with boyish charm, imbues his film with good-hearted gloom as son John Hollar. He's unhappy with his work as a graphic novelist and with rich girlfriend, Becca (Anna Kendrick). Yet, everyone is mostly unhappy except for Sally, who is undergoing brain surgery. That will tell you how the film mixes its tone between melodrama and tragicomedy.
Besides the strong mom role, dad Don (RichardJenkins) also holds center stage. A sensitive husband who needs much sympathy (he is losing his business), his bouts of crying are too much for a role that lets him cry over his wife but fire from his failing business a clueless son, Ron (Sharlto Copley).
Other improbable eccentrics include Charlie Day as Nurse Jason, who is married to Mary Elizabeth Winsted's Gwen, ex-girlfriend of John, and Josh Groban, youth pastor roommate of Ron's ex-wife, Stacey, played by Ashley Duke. The connections would be comical if they had comic lines to match. Mostly the sentiments are maudlin or mediocre.
I just could not figure where writer James C. Stouse wanted the comedy and drama to go, light or dark? Thinking about quirky family comedies like Garden State and Little Miss Sunshine, I found The Hollars lacking moments of greatness. Mostly some grand coincidences collide with sentimental observations to end up a film missing a dramatic or comedic coreinstead it has a strong mother not in the film enough to make it strong.
"You thought it was a weight thing?!" John Hollar (Krasinski) is getting ready to be a father when he learns that his mother (Martindale) is in the hospital with a brain tumor. He flies back home and joins his dysfunctional family. While trying to help and be there for his mother he also is dealing with the possible bankruptcy of his father's business, his angry brother and the unstable husband of his ex-girlfriend. This is a fantastic movie. The comedy is witty, quick and perfectly timed. The drama is heart wrenching and emotional without feeling cheesy or melodramatic. Everyone of the actors plays their part perfectly and that adds to the overall feel of the movie. This is a movie that flew under the radar, but those that find it will see one of the best movies of the year. Overall, a movie that deserves a bigger audience than it will get. One of the top ten movies of the year and one that I can not possibly recommend more. I easily give this an A+.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When first picking a movie to watch for the evening, I was wary of the
lower rating this movie received. Now after watching the film, I'm sad
that such a wonderful story would be downgraded so low. This movie is
seriously underestimated, it deserves a better recognition.
The Hollars is a simple Independent film that brings to life the humor an realism of dysfunctional families without overdoing it. John Krasinski, producer and director, also stars as a young struggling artist in NYC with a crappy job but a wonderful girlfriend (played by the spunky lovable Anna Kendrick) when he gets an unexpected call that his mother (Margo Martindale) is in the hospital with a large brain tumor that needs to be removed immediately. Going back home brings to the realization of how far he's been from his family, by finding out his father (Richard Jenkins) is about to go bankrupt, his brother (Charlie Day) is living at home trying to keep in contact with his ex-wife and two daughters, but also the pain of facing his mother's high-risk surgery, all while in turmoil in his own personal life as he prepares to become a father. What I loved most about this film is how relatable it is, by showing how families are absolutely dysfunctional and in every single way is like our own families in a comical and real way. The humor is laugh out loud funny without being overdone, and so beautifully done. It's one of the beautiful things about independent films, you don't have to create elaborate story lines or crazy schemes to make a movie funny, life itself has funny moments. The second thing I loved was the actors' performances. Being a fan of The Office for so many years, I was worried to see Krasinski in something different and without the chemistry of his co-stars on the show. But he accomplished something that's very rare- I was able to watch him and forget that he was Jim Halpert and made me believe that he was a different character. Not just John playing Jim playing John, but just being that character. I could watch him without feeling like I was watching the same character. Not just john's performance was outstanding though, the whole case ensemble is simply fantastic. It's not easy to do comedy and heartfelt moments in the same movie, and yet they pulled it off beautifully. At times you laugh while you're still crying. As much as I love those big blockbuster films, sometimes it's nice to kick back and watch a simple movie with a simple story line that's so wonderfully done. This movie was truly a surprise, and if it were up to me should be put up for a couple award nominations. Beautiful, heartfelt, real, this is definitely a film not only worth watching but worth the recommendation.
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