Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Hollars

In John Krasinski's second feature as a director, no sooner have we met Hollar family matriarch Sally (Margo Martindale), her perpetually verklempt husband, Donald (Richard Jenkins), and Ron (Sharlto Copley), the grown son living in their basement, than Sally collapses and is diagnosed with an advanced brain tumor. John (Krasinski), the Hollars' other son, a depressed graphic novelist trying to make it in New York, is summoned home and soon joined by his very pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick). The rest of The Hollars observes the family members as they coalesce around Sally or splinter into smaller groups or pairs to conduct charged conversations about their work lives, their love lives, and their relationships with one another.

Stalwart yet yielding as the Hollar family's gimlet-eyed emotional center of gravity, Martindale anchors the film just as her character anchors her husband and sons, infusing her scenes with a magnetic combination of warmth and pragmatism. The easy intimacy between Sally and her husband, sons, in-laws, and grandchildren makes them all feel like a real family as they talk back at the TV in Sally's hospital room during a realty-porn show or fill each other in on family “secrets” that everyone already knows. Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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