Cliched Indie Dramedy
Snoogans - wrote on 09/26/16
'The Hollars' is the directorial debut of actor John Krasinski (who also stars). This film exists squarely in a more recent sub-genre of independent film that mixes comedy and drama within stories of ill/dead relatives forcing a family to reconcile. It's positive outlook on personal tragedies brings about that familiar playful sense of endearment through some quirky characters and an on-the-nose indie/alternative soundtrack. The superficial nature of those aspects did bother me a little; most notably the unpredictable "funny" brother character. Still, Krasinski uses the schmaltz to his advantage and makes the cliched somber moments seem less of an annoyance. He's able to balance the lighter and heavier material quite well. But the one area that works best is the stellar cast. They lift this fluff with ease, giving a bit of conviction to the more unbelievable moments. The best example being Margo Martinadale as the sickened mother/matriarch of the family. She's so incredibly good at portraying the strong, wise, loving mediator of the group. The comedy may be hit-or-miss, the drama may not be close to tear-worthy, and the rushed finale is just not good, but the upbeat nature and likable performances will get you there much easier. Under other circumstances, I'd probably be annoyed with most of the film.