I don’t normally recommend movies for New Title Tuesday, but I feel the need to plug for The Hollars a touching Sundance film starring The Office alum John Krasinski and my favorite character actress Margo Martindale.

Summary: Jo
hn 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.

MPAA rating: PG-13; for brief language and some thematic material.

I feel the need to defend this unassuming little gem for a variety of reasons – not the least of which being the negative reviews such as Matt Zoller Seitz writing for RogerEbert.com:  “The Hollars” is just good enough to make you wish that it were better.”  More to the Hollars_posterpoint, the movie trailer is an accurate preview of the tone and substance of the film.

I don’t claim The Hollars is Oscar fare, but Martindale and Jenkins deserved a couple of nods for supporting actors.  The film is moving and worthy of eighty-eight minutes of a viewer’s attention.  It’s about family and the never ending challenges, disappointments and triumphs of those connected by blood and a shared childhood.  This small budget movie is not supposed to be compared to production of La La Land or the sweeping social commentary of  Moonlight.  But the Krasinski-directed film isn’t schlock either.  I believe Margo Martindale could read a dictionary and make it either hilarious or heartbreaking, and this script provides some material that seems written with her in mind as the larger-than-life matriarch.

Boston Globe correspondent Tom Russo wrote, “Krasinski infuses “The Hollars” with familiar wry humor, but he also delivers a film that’s unexpectedly rich with sweetly moving moments, and a revelatory performance by character actress Margo Martindale (TV’s “The Millers”).”

The rest of the cast also makes the script come to life – Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, and watch for Josh Grobin, Randall Park, and Mary Kay Place.

Superb acting and a plot that isn’t apocalyptic are reasons enough to make a bowl of popcorn, have a box of tissues nearby, settle under a blanket, and watch The Hollars.

Happy Viewing, Susan C.

Also staring Margo Martindale:

August_Osage_County_2013_poster August Osage CountyThe dark, hilarious, and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

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