|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Comedy, Drama, Tragicomedy
|Approx. 88 min.
For many years now, John Hollar (John Krasinski) has not been home in the small town where he grew up. But when he learns that his mother (Margo Martindale) is gravely ill, he immediately sets out from New York to stand by his father (Richard Jenkins) and brother Ron (Sharlto Copley) during this difficult time. However, he's not exactly welcomed with open arms. Ron is pissed that John barely checks in, his father is full of concern for his wife and for the small family business that is about to go out of business, and nurse Jason (Charlie Day) makes it clear that he doesn't like him because John is his wife Gwen's (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) ex, making him a real threat to Jason. But as his past comes crashing down on him, John would rather have some closure. After all, he's about to become a father himself and needs to move on. But worrying about his mother soon makes him see his own problems in a whole new light.
The Hollars is the second feature film directed by actor John Krasinski, who also took on one of the lead roles. The film has many great strengths - from its good-humored ensemble cast to its balanced mix of comedic and emotional moments to its atmospheric soundtrack. But there is also a weakness: the direction lacks any originality. Krasinski seems to have thrown together the best of all the indie family films of recent years here. The conflicts within the family are as conventional as John's obvious commitment issues. And a terminally ill family member isn't exactly something you've never seen before either.
The problem with this is that not all of these set pieces fit together harmoniously either. Some plot elements feel unnecessary or undercooked, while others are a little too drawn out. This doesn't make the film bad by any means, but it does prevent it from sticking in your mind in the long run. Still, it can't be denied a fairly enjoyable entertainment value. The actors are just too good and the staging too charming for that. And so, despite some weaknesses, the story is able to unfold the necessary emotional impact towards the end. The Hollars somehow grow on you and you share their fear, whether mother Sally will survive the dangerous surgery or not.
Who likes American independent cinema and appreciates films like Garden State or Away we go, will also enjoy The Hollars. It's a film that makes its audience laugh, but also cry. Thus, despite justified criticism, the mission is accomplished and there is still a decent: Worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp