The Hollars

Critics Consensus

The Hollars gathers an impressive assortment of talented stars; unfortunately, it's all in service of a story that's been played out more effectively in countless other indie dramedies.



Total Count: 90


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,804
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Movie Info

John Hollar, a struggling NYC artist is forced to navigate the small middle-American town he left behind when news of his mother's illness brings him home. Back in the house he grew up in, John is immediately swept up in the problems of his dysfunctional family, high school rival, and an over-eager ex-girlfriend as he faces impending fatherhood with his girlfriend in New York. From a script by Jim Strouse that is at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, John Krasinski's second feature is a poignant look at the bonds of family and friendship.

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Critic Reviews for The Hollars

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (49)

  • Krasinski, who also directed the film, may have spread himself too thin; there's a desperation about the closing scenes, cluttered as they are with bouncy pop songs on the soundtrack.

    Sep 15, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Opening with a promising first act comprising well-observed, edgy humor, the film ends with an overdose of treacle so syrupy, so pungent, it will unsettle the strongest tummy.

    Sep 8, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Jenkins and Martindale, both old hands at this sort of "dramedy" material, come through for Krasinski as the story darkens in the second half.

    Sep 1, 2016 | Full Review…
  • "The Hollars" is an uneven, ineffective and self-conscious dysfunctional family comedy/drama with a Sundance-y vibe, and scene after scene in which the greatly talented and usually quite likable cast members keep stepping in big piles of wrong choices.

    Sep 1, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • If Krasinski relates in any significant way to his character's self-doubt, you wouldn't know it from the movie, on which he does confident double duty as director.

    Sep 1, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Tom Russo

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • "The Hollars" drives inexorably to a conclusion that feels as manipulatively mawkish as it is impossibly tidy, typical of a genre that too often tries to have it both ways.

    Sep 1, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Hollars

  • Nov 16, 2017
    Heart is an undervalued commodity in filmmaking. Big films try to sneak it in, like they do humor and romance, but it always comes off as sloppy and insincere. In John Krasinski's second directorial effort The Hollars, heart is the base of this small yet thoughtful indie. Centering on a family coming together in the face of their mother's illness, the cast is quite talented, and up to the task of creating memorable and multifaceted characters. Our main character is John (Krasinski) a stagnated graphic novelist who is called back home after his mother (Martindale) is found to have a brain tumor. He leaves behind his pregnant girlfriend (Kendrick) to find that his father's (Jenkins) business is close to bankruptcy, his brother (Copley) has lost his way with his ex-wife (Dyke) and kids, and John's ex-girlfriend (Winstead) wants him, while her husband (Day) hates his guts. It's a lot to take in and process, especially in a film with a short running time of 89 minutes. All these elements create a layered and intricate series of events that say a lot about John's character, a man who hides from his past, doesn't understand his future, and thinks he's failing everyone, including himself. The screenwriter is James C. Strouse, who also directed the highly entertaining People Places Things and The Incredible Jessica James. Strouse is great at melding the realism of family life, in all its complexities, and the humor of being a unique person thrown into unique circumstances. Looking at the film critically, of course there are flaws. The film needs a lot more runtime to explain the backstories of the brothers, who leave a lot unsaid. The entire sequence with Mary Elizabeth Winstead could have been cut and we really wouldn't have lost anything. Having Anna Kendrick's character come from a rich family doesn't do anything for her character and doesn't truly move the story, except a single opportunity to show her morality. Other than that, she is two-dimensional and only serves to add to John's character arc. Other than these obvious points of contention, it's a sweet film that celebrates life, and hopefully Strouse will continue writing these films, because I will definitely keep watching them.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2017
    It must just be me. I found this hammy and unconvincing and I only lasted half hour. Wasn't interesting me on any level.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2017
    Quirky and offbeat, The Hollars is a lighthearted and entertaining indie comedy about family. When his mother is hospitalized, John Hollar returns to his small hometown and reconnects with his estranged family. Starring John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins, and Margo Martindale, the film has a pretty good cast. And, the comedy is well-written and has a clever wit to it. Yet the pacing is kind of slow and the plot meanders at times. Also, there's really not a lot of character development. But despite its problems, The Hollars is an enjoyable film with a strong message about the bonds of family.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2016
    I found this both funny, bittersweet, moving and utterly relatable. Beautifully acted with a great soundtrack too.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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