Friday, 30 December 2016

The Hollars

A New Yorker’s life is at a junction. On one hand, his dreams of making a living out of comic book writing are not working out; on the other, there is a pregnant girl he wouldn’t commit to that is about to give birth. Something has to give, and that something is triggered through the news that the guy’s mother - back at his middle of nowhere hometown - has been hospitalised following a stroke that’s been diagnosed to be the result of a brain tumour.
Our guy (John Krasinski, who also directs) goes back “home” for his mother, or rather goes through a journey that would, eventually, sort out his views on the world. Not only his, but also his father’s (Richard Jenkins) with his ailing business and his brother’s (Sharlto Copley of District 9 fame) with his divorce. And his mother’s (Margo Martindale), too.
That is the essence of The Hollars, if you will. Only that summing it up this way does it injustice on account of the finer details, the small print that makes up people's lives.
Those details revolve back to that good old hero coming back home only to find his home ain’t what it used to be kind of story. I know, because I have been there myself: people expect me to “come back home” when my home is somewhere different; people seem stuck in their old ways when I have moved on; people assume I am still attached to them when I have grown much more attached to new people, people unfamiliar to them. That’s part of the deal of making a new home, and that’s fine; The Hollars recognises that, so perhaps more people would lay off my back if they were to watch this movie?
My only gripe with The Hollars is the easy way out it takes with financial issues. In The Hollars, these issues are resolved by a rich party with philanthropic aspirations; in my life, and in the life of most people, such niceties are generally absent. I guess that’s where The Hollars’ main statement kicks in, the one about the need to move on with it under the assumption things will work themselves out. Even if it stoops to the level of wishful thinking.
Overall: A funny, charming movie that we have seen before but which raises the ante through its unassuming nature. And for the latter I will be generous and give it 3.5 out of 5 crabs.

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