The Hollars full movie review - Not the greatest, but it works
"The Hollars" is a film I had heard about for a while mainly because of the actors, particularly Krasinski, Kendrick and Martindale. When I finally got around to watching it, it was exactly what I expected and also nothing like I expected at the same time. And here's why:
The plot has been done many times before. Dysfunctional family is brought together by an illness or some kind of conflict. Each has their own personal struggles which run under the surface of the main plot. Family realises that the true happiness in life is each other. "The Hollars" manages to do that a little differently, although that's not necessarily a good thing...
The movie simply has too much going on to ever really focus on one storyline in enough depth to make it succeed. The main plot that is detailed in the summary regarding Sally Hollar's illness almost seems like a subplot at sometimes, taking the backseat to John's drama or Ron's drama or Don's drama. Yes, those are their names. I like that each character is complex with their own personal lives outside of the story arc, but too many things are focused on when more time could have been spent with Margo Martindale's terrific performance than with Josh Groban.
I was also particularly confused at the brevity of some of the story lines that ran throughout. Once it was introduced, I expected the storyline with Mary Elizabeth Winstead's unhappy Gwen and her husband, Jason who also happens to be Sally's nurse and John's old classmate. Oh yeah, Gwen is also John's ex girlfriend. But John is now dating and having a baby with Rebecca. You can read how 'Gossip Girl' it all sounds.
Thankfully, there are some strong points. The soundtrack was lovely, highlighting some really poignant moments that needed no dialogue. I don't think any dialogue would have made them work but the music was really lovely.
Krasinski seems to know what he's doing in terms of direction and his performance was good, too. Not exceptional, but it was a lead performance. Though it's the supporting actors that take the spotlight this time around. Anna Kendrick spent the first half of the movie trying to find out who her character actually was and then redeemed herself in the second half. Richard Jenkins had a strong outing as Don Hollar, though the bouts of crying were a tad excessive and over-dramatised at points. Sharlto Copley was good, too, standing out as a true supporting actor. Others such as Charlie Day and the aforementioned Mary Elizabeth Winstead were convincing in their small roles.
But really it's Martindale who steals the show. Predictably. It's a role she could really nail. I'm proclaiming her the queen of supporting roles, for she always make them more like a lead. She always brings a certain charm to her roles that make you want more of her. Having seen her shine in "The Americans" and "The Good Wife", I was excited to see her performance. And what a turn it is. Martindale does what she does best. Acts the hell out of any character. If the awards season wasn't plagued with outstanding acting performances all around, Martindale could potentially have been a contender with the right voters.