Aspiring NYC artist John Hollar returns to his middle America hometown on the eve of his mother's brain surgery. Joined by his girlfriend, eight months pregnant with their first child, John is forced to navigate the crazy world he left behind as his dysfunctional family, high school pals, and over-eager ex flood back into his life ahead of his mother's operation.
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.'
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