The Hollars

The moment I caught sight of Margo Martindale (whom I’ve been impressed with since I watched her in the 1987 Steel Magnolia) and Richard Jenkins on the cover of this DVD, I decided I would borrow it and watch it the moment I got home. I did not have to read the synopsis or be enticed by the “Fiercely Funny” quote or the logos of the Sundance and Los Angeles Film Festivals. It came as a pleasant surprise that one of my favourite singers, Josh Groban, also has a small role in the movie.

The story begins with graphic novelist John Hollar (John Krasinski, also the director and a producer) learning from his fiancee Rebecca (Anna Kendricks) that his mother, Sally (Martindale) is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He leaves New York City in a hurry to be with his father Don (Jenkins) and brother Ron (Sharlto Copley) in his rural hometown. There, John meets his high school classmate and mother’s nurse Jason (Charlie Day), who married his ex-girlfriend Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Ron spies on his ex-wife and two daughters but is confronted by her new partner, Reverend Dan (Groban), who comes to understand that Ron really loves his kids. On the eve of her operation, John and Sally sneak out of the hospital to enjoy her “last meal”…

The movie is at times funny and sweet, at times touching and moving. The best performances are of course from Martindale and Jenkins. They make their characters so believable, and are such a joy to watch. I’m captivated each time they appear- Jenkins impresses as the father who cannot cope with his wife’s illness and  Martindale is pure magic: she is hilarious and made me laugh a lot, and in some scenes, her heartbreaking performances brought me tears. Some of the funny moments are also moments of truth.


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