The Hollars (2016)

TOMATOMETER

Critic 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.

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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 (23)

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…
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

½

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.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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 Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

½

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 Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

John is Jim and Jim is John and in his new movie, The Hollars, John is simply John. We're talking about John Krasinksi of course who parlayed his likable everyman gig on The Office for nine seasons into a brand all its own with which with he will now try to both break (13 Hours) and embrace-see The Hollars. In Krasinski's second directorial effort what we have is your standard tale of a white man who's been given little if nothing to overcome in this society other than his own emotions and how he deals with such emotional conflicts when his mother falls ill in the small town he ran away from long ago. It is in returning to this not only small town, but the man's hometown that we know our protagonist will learn lessons that might help him deal with his mental constipation. Naturally, there is a cast of quirky family members who are designed to be specific in certain ways, but just broad enough in others so that we may all find someone to relate them to in our own families. In venturing back to his homestead John with the titular last name rather than Krasinski comes to learn things about his parents and his other family members that he'd never been privy to before; intimate and mostly ugly details he doesn't necessarily want to know or see, but as something of the family savior he finds it his responsibility to try and put them back together. It is in this idea, this story arc that The Hollars attempts to differentiate itself from this genre of defeated middle aged men returning to their roots to remember who they really are by reminding themselves of where they came from. It is in this idea that the one who fled to search for more is the one who fled not wholly out of ambition, but also from the pressures imbued upon them by their clan. In The Hollars, John is the only character whose life is fairly average-he really has little to complain about aside from the fact he may not be where he imagined himself professionally at this point, but otherwise he lives in New York City and has a rich/hip girlfriend in Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) who is expecting their first child. The guy more or less has his stuff together sans a few emotional shortcomings, but it is in these emotional shortcomings that the crisis drives him to some interesting and introspective places that are hinted at through his re-connections with his hometown, but that Krasinski brushes over too broadly for them to really resonate instead resorting to genre cliché's to round out his movie. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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