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Movie Review: The Hollars

By Andrew Burns, Contributor

[Sycamore; 2016]

Rating: 5.5/10

John Krasinski is trying his best to stay busy post-The Office. At this point, he is obviously no longer in it for the money and the modest film, The Hollars, is reflective of that. This is a film that lacks meretriciousness and was clearly made out of the love for the medium of film, which sharply contrasts Krasinski’s last feature film role. Despite its modest demeanor and budget, The Hollars boasts some big name actors Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day and even singer Josh Groban. This congregation of big names makes for an indie movie starring everyone’s favorite celebrities.

The film uses the characteristics of every upbeat-indie film telling a sad story; most noticeably, the use of music montages with the film’s cheery acoustic-pop soundtrack. Unfortunately, the film overdoes it with the music montages. Every time a major plot point is revealed, the film takes a break from the story for a music montage. The usage of music breaks would be fine a more artistic, aesthetic-focused film, but The Hollars is a narrative-driven film. Perhaps the greatest fault of the movie is that it bit off more than it could chew with the narrative. The story tried to tackle so much, but only so much can be addressed in 90 minutes.

The central plot is focused on the illness of the mother of the eponymous Hollar family. The side-plots include losing everything on the brink of retirement, seeing one’s kids after a divorce, and fear of becoming a parent. All of these subplots could be subject to feature films of their own, and likely have, but in The Hollars, each is relegated to a small side plot. After the main plot and music montages, each subplot probably gets around 15 to 20 minutes of screentime, which is far too little to tackle something like losing a job just before retirement. They are interesting plot lines, but unfortunately, they are a bit too interesting to be dealt with in this amount of time.

The problem with The Hollars is that it is too short to fully develop its plots, but at least it's long enough to interest the audience.

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