Margo Martindale Steals the Show In "The Hollars"

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"The Hollars" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Sometimes movies you know little about come along at just the right time. That happened to me last year with "Begin Again" and it happened this year with "The Hollars." I had heard people who attend film festivals talk about a new movie by actor John Krasinski. He was said to have directed it and also starred in it. I have long been a Krasinski fan so I kept an eye out for "The Hollars."

Now "The Hollars" is in theaters and it is the right movie to transition us into fall. It has just the right blend of comedy and drama, plus it contains some high calibre performances. The movie focuses on the Hollar family. Son John is working in the city trying to write and draw a graphic novel. He has a girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) who is pregnant with their first child. John loves Rebecca but he is not ready to commit to marriage.

Rebecca comes to the office where he works and tells him she has had a call from his family saying his mother Sally (Margo Martindale) is sick. He rushes home and finds his mother in the hospital where she has been told she has a brain tumor. His father Don (Richard Jenkins) is beside himself with worry.

In addition to the news of the brain tumor John also learns his brother Ron (Sharlto Copley) has moved back home following his divorce from his wife Stacy (Ashley Dyke). Stacy is now married to Reverend Dan (Josh Grobin), a youth minister. Although he is the one who sought the divorce, Ron is now having a hard time coping with his situation.

All of these side plots swirl around the central plot which is Sally's illness and how it affects each member of her family. This means the movie centers on Martindale and well it should as she is brilliant in her role of Sally. When awards season comes around she should be at the head of any Best Supporting Actress list. She provides the best comic moments of the film and also the best dramatic ones.

Krasinski has a fine turn as a first time director and also makes the role of John extremely appealing. Krasinski is one of the most affable actors we have had in some time, maybe since James Stewart's heyday. He exudes kindness, goodness and a basic core of humanity. John Hollar is a flawed human being but he is also one we know will stand up and do the right thing.

The weakest actor in the film is Copley. He just never strikes the right chords as Ron. We need to be sympathetic to the character but are never drawn in to him. Instead we are constantly being pushed away. With an actor in that role with whom we could empathize, the movie would have been better.

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and stressful situations.

Aside from Copley, Krasinski assembled a first rate cast. It is as if all were handpicked for the roles they play. The smartest move he made was in casting Martindale. She is a treasure, and she steals the show.

I scored "The Hollars" a yelling 7 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com